The Urban Land Institute (ULI) argues that an urban renaissance could be just around the corner. It points to several factors that are drawing people back to more urban living environments, including:

  • The growing popularity of urban lifestyles among young professionals and empty-nesters.
  • The draw of immigrants seeking to open small businesses.
  • The saturation of retail in suburban locations.
  • The growing appeal of pedestrian-friendly, street-front retail among consumers.
  • A decline in inner-city crime.
  • Increased use of public incentives to encourage market-based real estate investment in urban settings.
  • ULI suggests that one of the biggest obstacles (apart from NIMBYism) to building at greater density is the lack of adjacent retail. But most cities already have the retail in place. And, with an estimated 600,000 undeveloped brownfield sites nationwide, and an aging housing stock, the timing is good for infill builders.