Charleston, South Carolina residential rental rates continue to spike upward, spurred by newly employed millennials whose relocations to the region have outpaced available inventory and created urgent demand for denser developments.
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) of South Carolina maintains that delivering good quality density will be a crucial part of successful future development in the Charleston metro region, ULI Executive Director Heather Foley told Palmetto Business Daily.
“That being said, there are so many complexities and challenges to delivering good density,” Foley said.
In fact, according to ULI research, she said a few of the challenges that currently apply to this region include: land availability; residents’ concerns about the negative impacts density may bring; and having the physical infrastructure in place to support increased density.
“It is important to remember that density is much more than housing units. While housing is the primary driver, retail and commercial are essential ingredients for success,” Foley said.
Additionally, she said, there are other vital considerations. “Density is about creating a sense of place where people want to live, work and play,” Foley said.
At the same time, “higher allowable densities make affordable and workforce housing financially feasible. With limited affordable product available in the urban core, residents are forced further out,” Foley explained.
In fact, urban sprawl costs the U.S. economy $3 trillion a year, according to the ULI. With sprawl, lower densities exist, and so the per-person cost is greater.
Foley said that ULI studies have shown that residents of compact high-density, mixed-use communities save more money and have greater economic mobility than those in automobile-dependent neighborhoods.
“It has also been proven that single-family residential adjacent to walkable, mixed-use environments have the highest quality of life and are the most highly valued properties in the region,” she said.
There are a number of ways in which public officials can maintain balance between the needs of today’s population while considering those of future generations, Foley said.
For example, collectively, the region can clearly articulate growth goals and concentrate growth in prioritized areas; zoning ordinances can be written to support mixed-use with the flexibility to allow the development to respond to market demand; and lastly, the public sector can demand high-quality design, she said.
“And the private sector can mitigate obstacles by engaging citizens groups with tailored strategies,” Foley said.
The 2016 Spring Meeting, which is ULI's annual event for full members, is scheduled for April 19-21 in Philadelphia. For information, go to: spring.uli.org.
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