The development industry may have been hit the hardest, or at least so it seems from the eyes of someone whose livelihood depended on it. Many companies have dissolved. Others grasped at anything and everything to hold on. Many individuals working for larger companies have moved on to other industries. We have all become overwhelmed with major life-changing decisions. Perhaps this is a part of the equilibrium of civilization. Let’s face it, the United States development industry had grown to an uncomfortable size until eventually it had to pop. Perhaps attrition is the best way to describe what happened, and in hindsight, maybe what had to happen.
In the following blog posts, I am going to provide some of my projections of development. These projections will be provided as follows: Master Planned Communities; Government’s Role in Development; New Urbanism; Transportation; and Homeownership.
Master Planned Communities: Some argue that the days of Master Planned Developments are behind us as a civilization. Personally, I do not believe this to be true. The scale of new Master Planned Developments will certainly decrease for at least a decade or more. The coming years will involve adaptation of the existing stock of Master Planned Communities across the country. Lot patterns, densities and character of the communities will undergo an adaptation phase in which current market conditions are better suited. As an example, in the “old economy,” development pods may have consisted of “neighborhood retail” and “condominiums”. If you work in the development industry today, you know that financing is difficult overall, but especially for condominiums. You also know that most cities are oversaturated with retail and many communities were master planned with ideologies of the “old economy”.
Governments Role in Development: Speaking of ideologies, one of mine would be a statement that regulations and codes in all of our communities will be better suited for market fluctuations. That is, Government provides a smaller role in the development process through a more simplified and predictable outcome. The number of steps, expenses and time for today’s development review will be simplified, ala form-based codes. This statement though, is still ideological for many cash-strapped communities that generally budget and forecast for the near term, not for the big picture. But I will remain optimistic.