And it’s not just baby boomers, either. According to a
report by the University of Michigan Transportation
Research Institute, the percentage of people without a
driver’s license increased between 2011 and 2014, across
all age groups. The paper said only 69 percent of 19-year-
olds had licenses in 2014, compared to 87.3 percent
in 1983, a 21-percent drop.
That means they want to live in places where they can
walk and have easy access to public transportation. The
increased desirability of walkable neighborhoods and
downtowns has driven up the prices of homes, condos
and apartments in the communities that have them.
“When I was growing up, everyone who could afford
it wanted to live in the suburbs,” Evers said. “But now
cities are more vibrant, in part because they are walkable. My clients say they want to be in neighborhoods
where they can walk to coffee shops, restaurants, the
grocery and other stores, and entertainment.
“Some of them, especially younger ones, don’t even
own cars. They’re doing this in part because they
want to simplify their lives and they sure don’t want
to be chained to their cars. But not all neighborhoods
are walkable. ”
Scarborough, a semi-retired business executive, said he
and his wife are convinced they now have a “healthier
and better quality of life in Decatur. Atlanta has a lot
of heavy traffic, but living here means we don’t have
to be out in it much and that’s a pretty nice thing.
“I feel like we live in a wonderful bubble,” he said. “We
walk for exercise and there is a great bike trail called
the Path that starts in Atlanta, goes through Decatur
and then continues 10 more miles or so out to Stone
Mountain. After we moved here, we sold one of our
two cars because we didn’t need it anymore.”
Settled in 1823, 14 years before neighboring Atlanta,
Decatur covers four square miles, has a population of
19,000 and is the county seat of DeKalb County, Scarborough said. When he and his wife moved to Decatur,
they purchased their condo in a building that has retail
stores on the first floor with residences above them.
“The town center has a great old square with the county
courthouse that dates to the 1800s, a history center
and a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
People want to live in places where
they can walk and have easy
access to public transportation.
Courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development
(Below) City of Decatur
bandstand on the Square
Courtesy of the city of