They Say Walkable Urban Communities Are Needed

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The birthplace of suburbia needs an upgrade if it hopes to hold on to a strong economy, according to experts meeting in Farmingdale about the future of Long Island.

Among those experts was developer Donald Monti of Renaissance Downtowns, who said Long Island has a big problem.

“We lead the nation in the export of our youth. We’re the number one area in the flight of young people,” he told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

Unless upgrades are made to transit systems and walkable communities are created, that youthful flight will continue, according to Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution.

“And the future, particularly for the Millennials is walkable, urban, hip places. And if you don’t give it to them, they’re going someplace else. In fact, they have gone someplace else. You’ve got to get them back,” he said. “The experienced economy that’s going to be layering on top of the knowledge economy is demanding walkable urban places and there’s nothing here.”

Leinberger said developers should pay the bulk of the bill for transit upgrades.

Monti said a plan of action is needed now.

“That gives us a reason to stay on Long Island and eventually give a reason for those who have left to come back,” he said. “And if we as a community are able to provide the market what it wants, we will sustain. If we’re not, we will not.”

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