An eight session summit that took place on Thursday introduced the Lehigh Valley to a concept called new urbanism; a planning strategy for neighborhoods that is based on providing the right mix of jobs, housing, and transportation options.
The Lehigh Valley Summit for Smart Growth hosted its initial session in Allentown and discussed what the future will look like for the Valley and its residents. The outlook will be used by developers and city officials to help shape the communities and neighborhoods are designed.
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission estimates that county population will increase due to births and migrations to the area. The growth however won’t yield enough tax-payer from Generation X , which is the smallest in America history, to support the expanding aging population. Summit leader think much of the current demographics will change due to these factors; meaning more older workers and a much smaller, less mobile young workforce, joined together.
Combine this with the fact that health care, specialized manufacturing and warehousing jobs will increase in the region, and many lower paying jobs in the retail and service sector will decline, the mixed generation population will be needed to fill all of the advanced jobs available.
The best way to handle this situation is to have a greater number of small houses with more viable transportation choices; a thriving public transportation system surrounded by pedestrian or bicycle friendly communities and workplaces.