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DC’s Twentysomething Conundrum

  • May 29, 2012

by Shilpi Paul

DC's Twentysomething Conundrum: Figure 1

This weekend, The Washington Post’s Jonathan O’Connell wrote an op-ed that spoke to the troubles that DC may have keeping twentysomethings in the city as they move to their next phase in life.

Starting with an initiative by Mayor Anthony Williams, the city has been intentionally drawing in young people for the past decade, resulting in a city full of bars and bike lanes. The influx of youth has also resulted in a slew of new apartment and condo projects filled with an inventory of one-bedrooms and limited or no parking spaces.

O’Connell attached a few numbers that support the thesis that DC has become a young adult town. At 48 percent, the city has the highest percentage of one-person households in the country. The number of bedrooms per apartment has shrunk by 10 percent since a decade ago, and 68 restaurants and 74 taverns emerged between 2007 and 2011. The plan to make DC friendly to young people was certainly a success. But now, O’Connell thinks, DC needs to create a new plan to keep not-as-young people around.

To be sure, there are people from this group that have grown up and are carving out spaces in the District for their families. O’Connell, for one, lives with his family in Petworth, a neighborhood full of single-family homes (though the bar scene is growing), and we recently profiled Woodridge, a neighborhood up Rhode Island Avenue with large, affordable family-sized houses and an active group of residents, many young parents, who are trying to turn an empty commercial strip into one that’s appropriate for them.

But by O’Connell’s assessment DC is still lacking a number of things that would keep the soon-to-be thirtysomethings around: parks, good schools, family restaurants and libraries, homes with three or four bedrooms that aren’t prohibitively expensive, and proximate parking for vehicles filled with car seats and abundant groceries.

Though the city doesn’t have a plan laid out, some officials have started thinking about how to keep families here. According to the piece, Director of the Office of Planning Harriet Tregoning is currently trying to figure out how to encourage parents to send their kids to schools within the neighborhood, rather than send them to better schools farther away.

For the young adults out there, do you consider DC to be a city suitable for you as you move on to the next stage of your life?

See other articles related to: policy, generation y, families, editors choice

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/young_people_flocked_to_dc_but_what_happens_when_they_grow_up/5589

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