Reversing the Burbs

Tara Bahrampour:

Have you thought of this? Done it? Know anyone who did this?

Robert Solymossy doesn’t remember when he last gassed up his one remaining car. His other two cars are blissfully consigned to memory, along with his lawn, his driveway and “a lifetime’s worth of furniture” accumulated over the 23 years he lived in a detached single-family house in a wooded part of Oakton.

In 2005, Solymossy, now 67, and his wife Diana Sun Solymossy, 58, traded all that in to live in a condo in Clarendon with a gym, a rooftop pool and dozens of shops and restaurants right downstairs.

They bought it unbuilt, choosing from a floor plan. “It was a leap of faith, to say the least, but the location was really good,” Solymossy said. “After we moved in, I realized that this is really, really great; this really rocks.”

The Solymossys were front-runners of a mini-trend now taking root in some parts of the nation and particularly in the Washington metro area: baby boomers swapping out their single-family suburban homes for the bustle of urban life.

Reversing the trajectory of the Eisenhower generation, which fled cities for the suburbs, these boomers are following a path that younger people have embraced in droves. Many are empty nesters, and freed of the need to factor in school districts and yard sizes, they are gravitating to dense urban cores near restaurants, shops, movie theaters and Metro stations.

Between 2000 and 2010, more than a million baby boomers moved out of areas 40 to 80 miles from city centers and a similar number moved to within five miles of city centers, according toan analysis of 50 large cities by the online real estate brokerage Redfin.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • kenny Johnson

    I find sharing walls and fighting for parking spots to be hell of earth, so no… i’ll stick to a SFH in the suburbs for now.

  • gingoro

    In the late 70s we gave up our house in the burbs and moved close to the city center in Toronto. Close enough that our son walked a mile or two to a school that was located in the city center. Then when we moved to Ottawa we ended up right down town about 3 blocks from one of the largest street missions with a number of other missions within easy walking distance. We intended to buy a bungalow in the burbs as my wife has mobility issues BUT God seemed to close off those options quite firmly and He also provided a very suitable house with an unused elevator shaft.
    DaveW

  • Phil Miller

    If it was a city that had a decent public transportation system I could totally see doing this. Right we kind of do this, although we still have to drive quite a bit. We actually live within the city limits still, but we’re kind of on the very edge. Our commutes into the city for work are less than 15 minutes, though. I really like where we live right now, though. It’s urban, but it still has a small-town feel. We’re within walking/biking distance from a lot of shopping, restaurants, and several nice lakes.


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