The next generation is here

imgres-2I am a fiend for cultural information.  That is a broad theme.  I pay attention to the ads, the fashion spreads, the home design trends, the food trends, etc.   There is no doubt that the next generation is here.  There is a look and vibe that many refer to with the word Brooklyn in the description.  That was cutting edge a few years back.  Now it is part of the masses.  This is being driven by the millennials desire to stay cutting edge and baby boomers wish cash to spend.  It is the new modern.

Walking around the city and seeing the large chains take over each block is disheartening but is it what is happening now.  Those chains are even companies that were not that long ago start-up brands such as Vince, Warby Parker, Chipolte, Rag and Bone, Lululemon, West Elm and Steven Alan.  They are capitalizing on the urbanization of the globe.  The real estate owners are jacking up prices as cities become more crowded and cash is flowing in.  It is gentrification coming at us fast and furious.  There appears to be very little room for creativity unless it is in the outskirts of major hubs.

What we really need is to put serious capital into our transportation system so that people can afford to live in areas that have access to cities.  That connection will pull the creativity to other places.  This generation is here.  They are living their lives differently than the last generation.  They have a look, a vibe, a feel and a way that they want to live their lives which includes how to raise their families, spend their money, eat their food, consume products and travel.

I can’t help but try and peek around the corner to see what is coming up next…

Comments (Archived):

  1. Matt Kruza

    Still 10 – 20 years from ubiquity, but the answer here is self-driving cars. They will “shrink the city”, by making getting further out easier, they will shrink / reduce time to get to further out places which will lead to much more affordable real estate further out being practical because people can get there easily (a bunch of these creative businesses can even have co-ops tthat have self-driving cars / buses specifically branded to take people from city center to further out), which will then put market forces on driving rents down in city center. ie lets say today prime new York retail lease is $75 sq foot and further out is $30 sq foot, they may be $20 further out and $30 in prime.

    1. JLM

      .I doubt I could disagree more with a statement than yours.Self-driving cars will just be more cars on the same roads. The people who can afford them, initially, are not going to be suburban dwellers. They are unlikely to be people who will be commuting. They will be one person per car people — the greatest drag on the streets imaginable.The answer is mass transit.Every instance of a well planned mass transit system, connected to a thriving urban core, has resulted in the creation of a huge node of valuable real estate driven by the flow of people.Buy the land next to mass transit hubs. These hubs punch several weight classes higher than they appear.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. johndodds

        I doubt that I could agree with a response more.Though I’m never happy with any assertion re millennials – nobody knows how to define them; suggesting that a demographic swathe is homogenous is just daft; and many of the new behaviours assigned to them are reactions to economic realities rather than evidence of a new mindset.As for the Brooklynisation of the world – well that’s a double-edged sword.

      2. Matt Kruza

        Not sure how we would quantify this bet, but I will be getting dessert now too 🙂 Self-driving cars (and particulary buses and vehicles from 10 -50 people) will take demand from averaging 1.3-1.5 people per vehicle on the road to multiples of that, driving cost per mile down 50-90%. Those be the economics 😉 I believe NYU or someone in new York did an analysis that taxi prices would go from $4.00 per mile down to $.50 and also I think morgan Stanley estimated the number of cars owned by people would be down 51% within two decades or so. I think the impact might be even bigger, but many great minds / institutions in this space are more aligned with me than you (again, appeal to authority doesn’t make the point right). Basically due to ride sharing (not just uber style) is where the 50-90% efficiency comes from, ESPECIALLY in metro area. Probably any area with greater than 1000 person per sq mile or so will be impacted

        1. JLM

          .The best way to quantify this bet would be for you to just send me all your money now. It will be less troublesome for you in the long run. Maybe just send me 10% from each paycheck to get started?You spoke not of buses and mass transit which was exactly my point. It will not be single self-driven cars, it will be mass transit which does not require it to be self-driven.Mass transit exists now and Morgan Stanley can stop thinking about it. It already works.Next time, read your own post first.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Matt Kruza

            The self-driven mass transit is key. People / drivers are 60%-80% of operating cost. With a self-driven bus you can have 4-5 per each bus that exists now. Cost per bus pass can then fall 50-80%.Also, buses dn’t make sense to further out locations, so self-driving cars can fill the gaps not feasible for a bus. I have a vision… and society will come around to it.I will even hire you if you are real nice in asking 🙂

          2. JLM

            .For several years, I served on a state agency, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Agency. Capital Met was the City of Austin’s bus system which was, in effect, nationalized and made into a state agency.Obviously, Austin is the state capital and this was the justification.The biggest cost in any transport system is EMPTY SEATS.The biggest opportunity is also EMPTY SEATS.I had been asked to serve because the Agency had a ton of cash on hand — they had a big tax on a big tax base and were rolling in dough which every politician in the state was trying to get their hands on.Long, interesting, funny story. Not for today.We ran a “free fare” experiment — why charge fare when the tax paid for everything? My argument. I managed to sway the rest of the board.The buses were filled to overflowing with people taking multiple rides when before they took two per day. It was a staggering success but I had only been able to sway anyone by agreeing to a “drop dead” date.That date came and the experiment ended — and the buses were empty again.The fares, in my view, were a regressive tax. Since we also got a bit of the sales tax, why charge the same riders more?When I couldn’t get the Board to conduct another experiment, I got them to lower the tax rate so that the big spigot of money was turned off. I was told by the political writer for Texas Monthly, I had forced through the only voluntary tax reduction in the history of the State of Texas. Me and a guy named Steve Bayer.Self-driven mass transit is irrelevant unless it can drive ridership which my experiment tells me it cannot.I am sometimes called a Communist by people who remember my role in the famous “free fare” experiment which has now become fairly popular in other places. Steamboat Springs, Colo has a free bus system, as an example.Heat in the seats is the measure of success.I will only charge you half price for the tuition for this real world experience.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Matt Kruza

            I don’t think we are that far off. If self-driving can reduce 80% (which I think it can) then you will be able to make it “free” easier right? Not sure where we disagree on this? Also, the biggest issue for many I know is the wait time with buses only coming every 30-45 minutes is unacceptable. But again,with 2-4 x the number of buses waits times go down to <15 minutes and this reduces too. And yes, people are crazy hooked on “free”, in a manner that standard microeconomics or macro doesn’t account for. You are obviously very conservative on most issues, so I applaud you for thinking outside the box on this one with your past experiment

          4. JLM

            .You cannot imagine how much I appreciate your condescending applause. Thank you.I do not live in a box.[This is sarcasm.]JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. William Mougayar

    “put serious capital into our transportation system so that people can afford to live in areas that have access to cities.”That’s key, and it is physical infrastructure that connects people, just as the Internet connects people online.But it’s also good for smaller cities to have some cosmopolitan features of the larger ones, so that you don’t have to always go to the big cities for culture, food, arts, etc.

    1. awaldstein

      That’s only part of the answer and doesn’t address the biggest frontier which is perishable good distribution. Immediate proximity is essential and the cost issue.

      1. William Mougayar

        But it’s solvable.

        1. awaldstein

          Yes it is but it is not related to transportation.

  3. awaldstein

    You touch lightly on the larger issue that transportation will not solve.Perishable supply and delivery chains and the most disruptive piece which is just-in-time delivery only exist by proximity.You need real estate in Manhattan to service the island with fresh goods. That as well as walk in is essential to success.There is simply no getting around real estate location to break into the market.

  4. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Amen to the transportation comment.I try to surrender to change, but I do miss the days of dirt cheap grub in the East Village, even if it was sketchy. I’m glad I was lucky enough to live in NYC while it was still possible to live on the island of Manhattan on an administrative assistant’s salary, before they tore down theater row, the Paladium, and CBGB’s.On the plus side, Times Square isn’t scary any more and there are lots of public places to sit.NYC is definitely losing its corner on bleeding edge creatives as a result. Maybe Ron Paul’s coming financial apocalypse will bring rents down a little 😉

  5. kirklove

    As a recent transplant from the completely gentrified/chain-driven UWS to Carroll Gardens I had forgotten the amazing world of mom and pop / boutique (not ridiculous SoHO boutique either) culture that thrives outside of overpriced storefront Manhattan.The variety in style, food, and just originality is mind-boggling over here. In the best way. It’s energizing, too. Most of all it’s human. People say “hi!”.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I hope Brooklyn remains that way.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I love Carroll Gardens! Jealous.

      1. kirklove

        I do, too. Finally feel home in this city.

    3. MTeplitsky

      I can totally relate. Still here on the UWS after 30 years, but almost everything that made it feel a neighborhood to me is gone. Mostly work in South Park Slope Brooklyn (my editor is there, I’m a documentary producer) and I feel relief when I’m there.

  6. lisa hickey

    I love the title of this post: “The Next Generation is Here.” The next generation is always here.But there are reasons this generation is fundamentally different than previous ones. These are the differences I see: 1) It is a non-linear generation. There is less pressure to live your life in a predictable order and pattern. 2) “Jobs” and “careers” are becoming piecemeal projects that you can float in and out of irrespective of your education level, work experience, or IRL network. A career can very well be a patchwork system of skills that you acquire on the go and use when you need them. 3) Code is no longer a different, obscure language. It’s a part of our culture. 4) The relaxation of gender norms and other stereotypes. 5) The formerly huge problems that seemed so untouchable and unsolvable don’t seem nearly as unsolvable as they used to. (This may just be me.) But when you say, “What we really need is to put serious capital into our transportation system so that people can afford to live in areas that have access to cities.” I no longer think, “uh, how will that happen?”, I think “Yes, let’s get it done.”All of this I believe is making people more creative and not less. But creativity is not something you can see while it is happening, you can only see the results. I too am excited to try to peek around the corner to see what will come next.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I’m totally with you Lisa.

  7. JLM

    .The “edge city” phenomenon has been around for more than half a century.When the core of a city solidifies around the predictable uses, then the action is on the edge. Driven by economics; driven by lack of available space.Look at the former bedroom communities around major urban centers — where the demographic reality of the age of the creative population drives them — and you will find them.Dumbo, as an example, was created initially by economics. Now, it seems obvious, inevitable and predictable. Well, it was. You just had to start looking a little earlier.The other phenomenon that happens is that when the edge cities themselves begin to mature, there is a “return to the center.”The original center city goes vertical in a big way. Housing springs up in downtowns. The price point actually goes down and unmarried, no children, two income pioneers make their way downtown and they are both creative and demanding.I have watched this exact phenomenon in Austin by God Texas since 1979. It is all here. Downtown is thriving. It is exciting. The edge cities are also hopping and thriving.I had dinner in the hippest nuevo pizza joint on the East Side — a place where you never, ever went even when armed — and asked myself — Who are these people?They are the future and the future has arrived. Table for two million?When I arrived in the ATX in 1979, there were about 250K people. Soon, we will be 2MM. ATX is already the 11th largest city in the US — how did that happen?Is this a great country or what?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…