10 Minute Lifestyle
The challenge of 10 minute lifestyle is to offer as many people as possible the option of living in communities where they can walk or bike to everything they want or need. In a country dependent on the automobile, this is a daunting task. Beyond a select few cities, a car is a necessity. The one categorical exception: University towns, where cars are often unaffordable, prohibited, or unnecessary, but where restaurants, coffee shops, and entertainment venues are within walking distance of housing. By integrating mixed-use buildings with apartments, shops, and office space and locating them on shared streets near mass transit, we can achieve walkable community.
Millennials are the most obvious target. Americans coming of age in the 21st Century seem to value their smartphones more than their drivers’ licenses. A less obvious target is Baby Boomers. While some 90% of Boomers state that they would like to age in place, most studies show that once they stop working, the majority will not be able to afford their car-dependent lifestyles. With 10,000+ people turning 65 EACH DAY for the next 15 years, we have a major problem. The solution? Walkable communities. According to the AAA, the average cost of car ownership is over $9,000 per year. So a couple living in a car-dependent city or suburb can reduce their annual costs by $18,000 (less the cost of public transportation and (Zip)car rentals) by moving to a walkable community. And if they sell their house and rent an apartment, they can cut additional costs and add significantly to their savings. Thus, economic necessity rather than desire will probably fuel demand for this new lifestyle.