I recently saw a Wall Street Journal  article that talks about how Millennials have now begun to follow in the footsteps of their parents and are returning to the suburbs where they were raised to raise their families. It seems that some major metropolitan areas (New York City, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington, and Portland Oregon) lost almost 27,000 residents age 25 to 39 in 2018.
In 2017, these big cities lost nearly 54,000 residents in the same age group. This is a large reversal from the beginning of this decade where young people were flocking to the big cities. Census figures are showing that they are relocating to the nearby suburbs or the suburbs of other metro areas.
Why are they leaving you wonder? They are looking for better schools for their children. Although they are having children at lower rates than their parent(s) generations, they still want good educations for them. Another driving factor is that as you begin to have a family, the big city becomes too expensive to live in. It is also more expensive to buy a home, buy food, pay for transportation.
Closer to home, we have a statistic that states the 222,000 people are projected to move into the Greenville SC area between 2019 and 2040 . Some of those millennials looking for better schools and cheaper housing? Maybe.
Greenville County SC’s largest problem is sprawl. If Greenville City’s current urban development continues, the rural landscape of Greenville County will decrease from 66% to 40% and city-provided services will be extended farther out from our urban center. This will cause an increased demand for city services and an increase in tax rates to cover those services.
One solution, eight miles down the road in the form of Taylors SC has been planning for this urban sprawl to sprawl their way. Even hoping for it. Since the demise of the mills that were the main source of revenue, there has been a grassroots movement to lure businesses and people back to Taylors Main Street. A group that started as a church outreach has become so much more. Taylors is already looking to establish a development district and will give incentives for street-front, contiguous shops, creative architecture, second-story apartments, shade trees, sidewalks, interconnected blocks and small-lot new homes in existing historic neighborhoods.
But will Greenville truly sprawl, or will they redevelop under-used industrial spaces that are now sitting empty. Working on options is a team from MKSK Studios and they are coming up with recommendations for Greenville County. The final decision will be made by the elected officials. It will be up to them to balance the needs of the individuals in Greenville County with the demands on infrastructure and schools.
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J. A. a. P.
Wall Street Journal, 2019.
A. B. Mitchell,
“As Greenville County seeks answer to sprawl, Taylors shows how to
rebuild from within,” Greenville News, 9 September 2019.