Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Generation Y's Preferences Mean For Arlington's Future

One more thought on the research discussed here yesterday about Generation Y's living preferences. This is what I find so weird about attempts to kill the Westover Market Beer Garden or opposition to the East Falls Church redevelopment plan.

Current neighbors view them as shattering their quiet community. But according to this research, that's the equivalent of when those same neighbors' parents told them to knock off that darn rock & roll music.

Generation Y doesn't want single-family homes and a neighborhood that (even if it's lively during the day) demands they drive elsewhere for entertainment - any more than their parents wanted to listen to Bing Crosby. They want smart density, townhouses, a pub they can walk home from, and who knows, maybe 30 years from now some sort of transit option we haven't even considered yet - a streetcar down Washington Blvd. all the way to the Pentagon?

The Westover Market Beer Garden isn't an aberration - it's Rubber Soul, an evolutionary leap that signals a generational shift. Let's say neighbors block music at the Beer Garden - won't someone just see that untapped niche for live music & act accordingly? Maybe Samuel Beckett's would look there for a 2nd location?

This isn't about whether change is coming - it's about what will change look like. Neighborhoods like East Falls Church & Westover will never be Clarendon, but they'd be wise to learn from its history. You may not be able to stop change, but you can make sure it's doesn't look like Home Depot.
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