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Can Somerset County Attract Millennials?

July 30th, 2015 by

The Cobalt, a proposed apartment development near the Somerville train station. Photo: Weiss Properties

The Cobalt, a proposed apartment development near the Somerville train station. Photo: Weiss Properties

The Fall 2014 Duke Farms studio class at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University had an interesting assignment: Figure out where the opportunities are for Somerset County to attract more Millennial residents. The report, Somerset County Development Opportunities: A Millennial Perspective (pdf), prepared for the Somerset County Business Partnership in collaboration with the Somerset County Freeholders and Planning Board, has now been published.

As a fairly typical upper-middle-class suburb dominated by single-family housing and automobile-centered transportation, the county doesn’t currently fit the profile of Millennials’ preferred living environment, but the detailed analysis done by the Bloustein students did highlight some important trends and opportunities that the county can use to its advantage. And with the county’s over-55 population, in particular the number of residents age 65 and older, showing strong growth, many of the recommendations put forward to attract and retain Millennials will also serve this older cohort.

Among the report’s major recommendations:

  • Transportation options, multi-modal connections, and in particular one-seat train service to New York, should all be expanded;
  • Housing choices should be broadened, especially outside of the county seat of Somerville, to include more smaller, affordable units both for sale and for rent;
  • Health and personal care is a significant driver of retail sales in the county, and opportunities for growth and synergies in this sector should be explored.

Download the full report

One Response to “Can Somerset County Attract Millennials?”

  1. Glad to see your focus on transit options; hope there will be focus on the importance of trip frequency and span of hours for first and last mile connectors as well as suburban community transit bus routes in areas where the cost of traditional transit may not work.

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