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This corresponds with U.S. Census Bureau

statistics that reflect the increasing

urbanization of America; between 2000 and

2010, the U.S. urban population grew by

12.1% compared to an overall growth rate of

9.7% for this same period. The most recent

Census estimates indicate that urban growth

outpaced suburban growth in 33 of the 51

largest U.S. cities last year.

Millennials are at the center of this trend.

In its poll, the ULI found that Millennials

consistently ranked a number of typically

urban community attributes as preferences

—and did so at numbers that far outpaced

averages for other age groups or all age

groups together. Walkability ranked as

important for 54% of Millennials, compared

to 50% for all adults. Convenient public

transportation ranked high for 39% of

Millennials, while only 32% of the overall

population saw this as critical. Meanwhile,

44% of Millennials ranked access to shopping

and entertainment as one of their top

priorities compared to just 36% of

Generation X-ers and 43% of Baby Boomers.

But there is evidence that the trend of

urbanization is starting to slow. The Census

Bureau estimates that this trend peaked in

2011 when 26.7% of U.S. population growth

was focused in urban areas. Last year,

estimates put this number at 20.0%.

Affordability is the likely culprit of this

decline. Our tracking of apartment rents for

Downtown or Prime CBD markets across 16

top U.S. markets between 2010 and 2015

indicates an average increase of 33.2%.

On the surface the issue of affordability

might seem to contradict the strength that

we are reporting in these emerging new

Cool Street markets. But the issue of

affordability has actually been one of the

driving forces behind this movement. With

few exceptions, the Cool Street districts

springing up are not in tonier, long-

established neighborhoods areas where

rents and housing costs are increasingly

prohibitive. Nearly all of the Cool Streets in

our survey are transitional neighborhoods

where more affordable rents have served as

an initial catalyst for growth.

Cool Street Experiential

In May 2016, Whole Foods opened the first

of its Whole Foods 365 stores in Los

Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood.

The Whole Foods 365 concept appears

Their success has come from

the fact that they engage

their consumers on the most

basic experiential level—they

keep their stores interesting.