The suburbs are morphing into the urbs

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is repositioning its Moorestown Mall in suburban Moorestown, N.J., by bringing in tenants associated with urban life.

For instance, a number of new tenants include independent chef-owned restaurants like those found in urban edge neighborhoods.

The goal is to reposition the suburban mall with an urban environment.

Suburban Fairfax County, Va., has plans to urbanize suburban Tysons Corner, which balloons from a residential population of 19,000 to 100,000 residents plus commuting office workers every day. The idea is to build mixed-use properties that include residential, office, retail stores and restaurants to enable people to live, eat and shop where they work — and stay out of their cars.

Is this a trend? Yes, says the Urban Land Institute in a 2012 report called “Shifting Suburbs.”

Perhaps surprisingly, the report says that this trend dates back to the early 1990s. “…driven in part by powerful demographic forces, market preferences have been shifting. Signs point to an increasing appetite — especially among generation Y — for higher-density living patterns and for transportation options that include transit, walking and biking.”

That sounds like city-life, in the burbs. Urbs?


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