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In Sydney, high-density housing attracts youth

Posting in Cities

The migration of youth to urban centers is happening on every continent -- including Australia.

High-density housing is attracting young people to Sydney's inner suburbs, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, but it's not for the reason you think.

No, it's not dreams of loft living or creative collaboration that's driving the change. (Though I'm sure that's desired.) Instead, it's basic economics: areas in the city's northwest and southwest areas are increasingly young, according to a 2011 census, because housing is cheaper there than in the expensive downtown district or in other, more established suburbs.

(A note to our American readers: the use of the term "suburb" in this post denotes an area located just outside the central business district. We're not talking green lawns, white picket fences and two-car garages here.)

Catherine Armitage reports:

''For the first time really you are getting the new Gen Y high-density communities coming to the fore'', said the director of the City Futures Research Centre at the University of NSW, Bill Randolph, referring to the inner city. ''Ten years ago [they] would not have been there.''

To strike a contrast: Sydney's wealthy Palm Beach suburb has a median age of 53. Yet Claymore has a median age of 20, 16 years younger than the citywide median age of 36.

This trend may not be a surprise per se -- people will always move to where it's more affordable, within reason, and Sydney is hardly a bargain -- but it poses new problems for city officials in terms of service availability, transportation infrastructure and, of course, employment.

Inner city hits spot as Gen Y move into high-density homes [Sydney Morning Herald]

Photo: Sydney's Haymarket district, which has a median age of 27. (Rae Allen/Flickr)

— By on November 16, 2012, 1:20 AM PST

Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure