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A lunch on urban (re)generation and in praise of cities

More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities, and that number is growing. Even in the U.S., while the 20th Century can be seen as the era of the American suburb, this century- marked by uncertain gas prices, a mortgage crisis, and changing values- is marked by a new urbanism.

The old American Dream to buy your own private estate- complete with grassy lawn and SUV- in the suburbs is being reconsidered for a more urban lifestyle. Strategist and developer Chris Leinberger argues that we’re shifting from drivable sub-urbanism to walkable urbanism, due to “pent-up demand”.

“Gen Xers and Millennials want a lifestyle closer to Friends and Seinfeld (that is, walkable and urban) than to Tony Soprano (low density and suburban),” he says. “It’s not that nobody wants Tony Soprano. About 50 percent of Americans actually do want that configuration. But if we’ve built 80 percent of our housing that way, that’s the definition of oversupply.”

In another one of our faircompanies lunches, we sat down with a couple millennials- American consultant James Friscia and Polish banker Hanna Celina Sankowska (current residents of London; with time spent in Boston, New York City, Paris, and Dubai, among other cities)- to talk about the lure of cities: walkability, arts, culture, carsharing, bikesharing, fitness and living better than Charlemagne.