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Homewood, Illinois, a 20,000-resident suburb about 25 miles outside of Chicago, is marketing itself to urban millennials as a hidden hipster gem, says CityLab editor Amanda Kolson Hurley. The town just launched a new advertising campaign called “Think Homewood.” Comic strip ads posted inside trains on the L’s Blue Line and elsewhere in Chicago contrast the laid-back vibe of Homewood to the stress of city living.

Hurley writes:

The ads, which will run through the end of May, were the idea of Mary Jane Maharry, a public relations consultant to the town. Maharry enlisted Fishman, the local artist, and presented the concept to the village board, whose members embraced it, according to Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld.

Hofeld said the town wants more young families to move there, and as urban Millennials start to think about homeownership and child-rearing, it’s the right time to recruit them. “We found the Millennials [in Chicago] are prone to looking to the north suburbs and the west suburbs, and rarely look to the south,” Hofeld said. “We have all the amenities that a family could ask for. And on top of it, as far as the housing stock goes, it’s affordable. We feel those are good sells.”

“Think Homewood” reveals just how much the old dichotomy of city vs. suburb is blurring. It proves a fact that would have been unthinkable 20 or 30 years ago: Suburbs now have to work to attract the cohort they were built for. As certain cities become more sought-after and lively, suburbs can no longer just sit back and wait for the inevitable stampede of first-time homebuyers and new parents. They have to convince skeptical young folk of their essential urbanity first.

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