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Old 07-29-2014, 05:29 AM
 
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I must admit I'm boggled - 9 replies so far and no one has mentioned self-driving cars.

Perhaps because that doesn't fit into the narrative of doomed boomers and doomed suburbs.

I suspect the trend of multi-generational hoouseholds will continue. There will be grandkids to help with the driving as well. Decentralization of stores perhaps? Dollar stores are popping up even in rural locations. Not necessarily walkable but a closer drive is less intimidating.

 
Old 07-29-2014, 06:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeksitter View Post
I must admit I'm boggled - 9 replies so far and no one has mentioned self-driving cars.

Perhaps because that doesn't fit into the narrative of doomed boomers and doomed suburbs.

I suspect the trend of multi-generational hoouseholds will continue. There will be grandkids to help with the driving as well. Decentralization of stores perhaps? Dollar stores are popping up even in rural locations. Not necessarily walkable but a closer drive is less intimidating.
Actually, self-driving cars could accelerate a suburban decline. Seeing as how the cars would be able to be called for, rather than parked at the doorstep, giant parking lots and big driveways and garages could become a thing of the past as self-driving cars zip between destinations for different people. Parking would become less of a problem, as these self-driving cars would be constantly on the move, and likely would only be stored for a short time. Thus, areas that cater to a lot of parking (the burbs) might see a drastic shift in how they are set up.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,937,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeksitter View Post
I must admit I'm boggled - 9 replies so far and no one has mentioned self-driving cars.

Perhaps because that doesn't fit into the narrative of doomed boomers and doomed suburbs.
While I agree in the longer run self-driving cars will be a huge boon for the elderly I expect that Boomers will be the ones most suspicious of the technology in general, which will limit uptake in the shorter term. Also, they're not expected to be truly universal until 2035 or so. By this time many of the oldest boomers will have either passed on or have other issues besides mobility which will limit the uptake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Actually, self-driving cars could accelerate a suburban decline. Seeing as how the cars would be able to be called for, rather than parked at the doorstep, giant parking lots and big driveways and garages could become a thing of the past as self-driving cars zip between destinations for different people. Parking would become less of a problem, as these self-driving cars would be constantly on the move, and likely would only be stored for a short time. Thus, areas that cater to a lot of parking (the burbs) might see a drastic shift in how they are set up.
A suburb is still a suburb even if you can take out the parking. And redoing old infrastructure (especially road patterns) is incredibly expensive (not to mention basically impossible without a lot of imminent domain).

It's a bit outside of the purposes of the thread, but I'd guess in the "self-driving" world old residential neighborhoods would look pretty much the same. Commercial, office, and any remaining industrial areas, however, will look quite different. I wouldn't be surprised if more urban-style mixed-use infill becomes near universal in such areas - which of course can include new options for seniors closer to their old homes.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 07:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
^^LOL, The Atlantic!That's worse than Forbes! The comments are interesting, keeping in mind they're from people who actually choose to read that rot. I'm not into soothsayers and seers. I know a few single women who've slightly downsized, but I know none who've always lived in the burbs, including Boulder, who have moved to Denver. The ones I know continue to live in single-family homes, though with smaller yards.
yeah, yeah . . . ad hominem . . . you don't know someone so it must not be a problem.

But from your reply here it wouldn't appear that you really understand what the issue here is. It's not something that is happening now. It's a something that will be a problem in 20 years when boomers start to meet their maker en masse.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 07:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Forbes isn't known for great writing but just because you're unfamiliar with it doesn't mean that it isn't a real problem. There's been quite a bit written about it over the last 2 years.

There's only one paragraph on the "solution" because there really aren't any. In 20 years there will be a major glut of housing in neighborhoods that are less and less appealing - mostly because of commute times and energy costs. There's not much you can change about either of those things except to keep boomers from dying, spend trillions on transportation and make energy cheaper. Good luck with that.
The only "real" solution the article recommended was getting out NOW. My parents are in their early-to-mid 60s, living in a 3000 sq ft house in the suburbs by themselves, and I worry. They're never going to turn it into co-housing or condos or anything (even if it was a workable solution it would be more expensive than just short-selling.) And it largely won't be workable because the one major cultural factor the article didn't mention is that Gen Xers and Millenials by and large don't WANT to live in those neighborhoods. Even if the housing was more appropriately sized/priced, the cul-de-sac just doesn't have the same cultural appeal that it used to.

One more point to consider is that these houses were not built to last 100+ years. Our 1000 sq ft house is at least 110 years old, and doing great. But most of the houses built in 1980 were essentially made of toothpicks, and will turn 35 next year. Will they really last 50 years? 60? And who wants to take out a 30 year mortgage on a house that can only be expected to last 25?

I'm afraid that 20 years from now we'll look back as a society and conclude that we might as well have just dumped a trillion dollars in the ocean.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 07:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post

There's another demographic issue the article misses: Gen X is small. The Millennial generation, however, is not. So will those houses the seniors (or their estates) are selling have no available buyers? Of course not -- the Millennials won't be living in their funky little 500 sq ft apartments with 3 roommates forever. Even taking for granted that they have a preference for urban living, that drives urban prices up and suburban prices down until a new equilibrium is reached; this is bad for the sellers, but it seems unlikely to precipitate an actual crisis.
I said this in another comment, but I wanted to respond to nybbler directly.

What you're forgetting is this: the houses in question are mostly the same age as the Millenials themselves. So by the time Millenials are financially mature enough to afford 2500+ square foot homes (assuming this even happens, and considering that most boomers themselves couldn't afford them until their 40s) the structures cannot be expected to last an additional 30 years, or the length of a standard mortgage. And even if they do, what chance is there that these houses will have retained their re-sale value after aging 70 years or so? Millenials will see this coming, and will largely choose not to commit to houses that are essentially on their death beds.

It's pretty common knowledge that houses from the 80s and 90s were not built to last 70 years, although if you can find evidence to the contrary, I would be eager to know of it.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Backwoods of Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
I'm afraid that 20 years from now we'll look back as a society and conclude that we might as well have just dumped a trillion dollars in the ocean.
This is basically what we did. It went in the banker's pockets, not the ocean...

Whoever said the boomers would be suspicious of self-driving cars, was correct. As a 67-year old boomer (in fine health, thank you, and driving much, much better than some of these young 'uns), I come from a generation that was, and still is, suspicious of most things. I'll drive till I drop!
 
Old 07-29-2014, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
12,351 posts, read 7,515,215 times
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The system will adapt -- simply because it has to; the only real question is -- how to determine and fund the cost.

Let's begin with a serous examination of the fantasy of "self-driving cars"; the technology might be on the drawing board, but adapting it to the needs of isolated seniors in a small community is a long ways off -- too far to be relevant to the expectations of people already in their sixties

Are you ready to let go of the wheel and let the car itself drive?

But I do believe that restoring commuter and "exurban" rail services to the level we had back in the Sixties is possible here in the East and most of the major Western cities already have larger networks than what we knew two generations ago. The intercity bus network, which eroded just as much as the rail systems, can also e rebuilt Services such as Megabus are the first step in a long process, but it's one driven by real market forces instead of planners, who usually miss a few important points until it's too late, and the price tag gets bigger.

The natural forces of the markets, combined with an increasing scarcity, and higher cost of petroleum are already exerting strong pressures on the single driver. Insurance concerns will further limit the expectations of people who used to drive several hundred miles on a weekend without much forethought.

No doubt about it; the "cheap-driving" party is over, and has been for about a decade. But we don't need "master plans" conceived by bureaucrats in ivory towers. Let the forces of supply and demand continue to work without Big Brother's interference.

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 07-29-2014 at 09:23 AM..
 
Old 07-29-2014, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,702 posts, read 4,673,493 times
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I don't think this is some huge, unknown, disaster waiting to happen. We've seen it on a relatively small scale forever- people get old all the time. Back where I am originally from- a small town in South Dakota- the population is rather old, all over town you get the impression that the majority is old people that are well beyond retirement. People there do just fine- they drive until basically they are no longer able to live on their own anymore- often into their 90's- and so by the time they are unable to drive anymore, it's not like moving to some walkable place would be of any benefit, because they are not incredibly mobile anyway, and are needing assisted living. In fact driving often extends their mobile years, because they may not walk well anymore, and so in their car they carry their walker or in some cases even scooter which they then use once they park to go into a business, doctor's office, etc.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 08:52 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,956,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
The only "real" solution the article recommended was getting out NOW. My parents are in their early-to-mid 60s, living in a 3000 sq ft house in the suburbs by themselves, and I worry. They're never going to turn it into co-housing or condos or anything
Good post . . . I'm just not sure we won't see some of these houses become duplexes. It certainly happened to a lot of Victorians and I'm sure no one in 1910 saw that coming.
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