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In an effort to revitalise downtown areas and reverse urban decline, the city council has decided to allow city-owned properties to be redeveloped. The hope is that millennials, who are demanding desirable neighbourhood amenities…

There's something wrong with this picture

In an effort to revitalise downtown areas and reverse urban decline, the city council has decided to allow city-owned properties to be redeveloped. The hope is that millennials, who are demanding desirable neighbourhood amenities and denser cities, will be enticed to explore the city centres. In order to win the favour of the population, city leaders have announced they will allow for the demolition of up to 75 older homes in neighbourhoods like Old Town. And, incredibly, though there are both pros and cons to the idea, some readers have disagreed that condo development is the answer to revitalisation.

In an effort to revitalise downtown areas and reverse urban decline, the city council has decided to allow city-owned properties to be redeveloped. The hope is that millennials, who are demanding desirable neighbourhood amenities and denser cities, will be enticed to explore the city centres. In order to win the favour of the population, city leaders have announced they will allow for the demolition of up to 75 older homes in neighbourhoods like Old Town. And, incredibly, though there are both pros and cons to the idea, some readers have disagreed that condo development is the answer to revitalisation.

Young people live in condos because they lack the means to afford the high cost of housing, and to be affordable, condos must be built to hold approximately a third of the current homeowners of a neighbourhood. While there may be some older millennials who wish to demolish their older neighbors’ homes and relocate to the suburbs, no amount of urban infill will provide the current residents of a city with the services and amenities they crave. Urban sprawl is no panacea for urban decline.

This would be better served to be accomplished by fostering the construction of planned housing for families, and opening up affordable housing units in the suburbs. The city should not allow condos on top of older homes, as was done in the case of Meyerhoff, but should instead allow for the creation of loft and affordable housing on top of old homes.

Traditional cities require more infrastructure for infrastructure, because they are not bordered by businesses, malls, apartments and condo buildings. We shouldn’t be building neighbourhoods, we should be building infrastructures to cater to people living there. Old homes are places that require maintenance to remain livable.

Nobody knows more about how to attract millennials than millennials themselves, and they overwhelmingly have low expectations. Millennials also want to know that their neighbourhood is safe and has people living nearby.

Young people will move into a condo if it’s within walking distance of Trader Joe’s, Zara, Microsoft or Google. Smart condos are the sine qua non of attracting millennials.

A project such as the Meyerhoff would have worked as well if it had been implemented during the ’90s and early 2000s. In the 1980s, America’s cities were bursting with new housing developments just like the Meyerhoff. Today, smart condo conversions could be a linchpin of revitalisation. It would be great if it were possible for millennials to relocate to a new neighbourhood with new neighbors and a common outdoors space.

If the city’s policymakers really want to attract more millennials to Old Town, it’s a good idea to build a cultural centre for the area, as well as a school to accommodate incoming kindergarten and preschool students. These amenities are particularly important because more people are coming into the city during the day, around 7am to work.

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