Residential location of Millennials : a Calgary case study

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Burgess, Trina
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Geography
The housing preferences and residential geography of the Millennial generation are different than those of previous generations and that has implications for the urban landscape. Young people are delaying the traditional milestones of adulthood such as marriage and childbearing, even buying a car, and instead are increasingly found in walkable, amenity rich urban centres where they congregate in high-density housing in historically high concentrations. This leads many to ask if this trend is indicative of a new normal of urban renewal or if it is just a temporary phenomenon. This research examines the locational preferences of Millennials in Calgary by analysing interviews with 37 young adults in three distinctive regions of Calgary that had high concentrations of the oldest Millennials in the 2011 Canadian census. We find that there are a range of attributes that are important determinants of why Millennials choose to live where they do, and that there are some differences between inner city and suburban Millennials. The main themes that emerged were constraints, neighbourhood attributes, housing attributes, employment based considerations, transportation attributes, social attributes of the neighbourhood, psychological benefits people receive from living in a particular place, and family or household considerations. These results support the findings of the literature. Also, the effects of the current downturn in the Calgary economy is discussed in terms of how it affects the neighbourhoods and residential decisions of participants.
housing preference , Millennial generation , neighbourhood amenities , residential location , urban geography