People are moving back to the cities

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

The suburbs are not as much fun as they used to be:

Generation Y has grown up in the safest environment in human history. The suburban cul-de-sac offered a safe place to play, with lower crime rates than cities. But despite this safe environment, the need to fill a 24 hour news cycle in the emerging world of cable and online communications brought every localized “stranger danger” news story to a national audience, giving rise to the overprotective Helicopter Mom who oversees every minute of her child’s life. Whereas previous generations simply needed to come home before dark, Generation Y grew up with scheduled play dates and activities.

It should come as no surprise that this over-protected generation now celebrates dangerous and exciting activities like skydiving, rock climbing and bungee jumping.

At the same time, television shifted from glorifying the surburban lifestyle in the 1960’s and 1970’s (e.g., Leave it to Beaver and the Brady Bunch) to glorifying the urban lifestyle in the 1990’s (e.g., Seinfeld and Friends).

These cultural changes have pushed Generation Y to look for more adventure than previous generations, and they are less fearful of cities than previous generations.

2. Isolated to Connected. While the suburban cul-de-sac lifestyle offered the safest environment the planet has ever seen, it also produced the most isolated and disconnected environment. Today’s children rarely have the freedom to roam beyond the cul-de-sac, ensuring their social lives are determined by the quality of friends on the same street, together with the nature of their scheduled social interactions beyond their neighborhood.

The net result? Generation Y wants to be more connected and less isolated than previous generations. They manifest this desire in their full-on embrace of social media and their desire to live in places where they can be around others; i.e., the densest, most active, areas of cities.