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Towards car-free living

Right now, there’s an apartment building in San Francisco that is trying to encourage car-free living by offering residents a $100 per month credit that can be used for Uber and/or for public transit. Prospective residents can even get a $20 credit to go check out the community. (The program is a partnership with Uber.)

The reason this leasing strategy caught my attention is because we’re at a point where city builders are now trying to recalibrate themselves to this new emerging world. 

When I was at the Land & Development conference earlier this month, one developer brought up this exact point. He more or less asked: If you’re starting development on a new building today and you’re expecting approvals in 2 or so years and completion in another 3 or 4 years, what do you think the state of cars/driving will be at that point? Should you really be building all that underground parking?

These are great question. And they highlight one of the challenges of development. It takes a long time to bring new supply to the market and a lot can change during that time period. My sense is that we are pretty clearly seeing downward pressure on driving and car ownership.

That said, this isn’t the case in every city or in all parts of a particular city. I just got back from a trip to a Detroit where it’s pretty hard to imagine the city being oriented around anything but the car. But in cities like San Francisco and Toronto, car-free living is already a reality for many people and so we need to respond to that.

How do you see yourself driving, or not driving, in the next 5 to 10 years?

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