Kunz: In 1950, just 32.1% of the world’s population lived metropolitan areas. By 2016, 54.6% lived in metropolitan areas. By 2030, it is estimated that 67.3% of the popula- tion will be living in cities. Infrastructure growth is not being provided in tandem with development growth. Pro- grams like Zero Net Energy will help but much more infra- structure progress is needed in energy, communication, water service, transportation, location of jobs, etc. This is why the Company consistently targets transit-oriented de- velopments that improve the time of travel to work, elim- inate the need for a car, and frequently give the homebuyer overall better mobility. ■ 25 Architect Alan Scales On Designing For Modern Urban Living ■ By SAMANTHA MEHLINGER Long Beach Business Journal KTGY Principal Alan Scales is an architect with more than 14 years of experience in the design and construction of urban infill residential communities and has worked hand in hand with The Olson Company on many projects. Scales chatted with the Long Beach Business Journal about trends in de- signing for urban living, including emphasiz- ing the importance of accommodating multiple generations, maximizing space, integrating outdoor living and creating a contemporary aesthetic. How are lifestyle changes influencing the layout and design of homes? With the cost of housing on the rise, many buyers are looking for flexibility in how they live in their homes. A strategy to confront this challenge is to allow a homeowner to stay in and grow with their home as they move through different milestones in life. This can be as simple as providing a bedroom suite downstairs that is intended for an extended family member or a boomerang kid working their way through college. Flexibility can also come by way of a large island kitchen that can double as a main dining area, opening up the option for what would have traditionally functioned as a dining room to become a home office, a bedroom or a bigger entertainment space. What do you find to be the top desires of Millennial first-time homebuyers? With all the existing city services, proximity to jobs, shopping and great amenities in city centers and urban locations, it is clear why we are seeing Millennials migrate to those areas. A result of this trend, and typical of housing in urban cores, housing densities are increasing and adding pressure to overall home size. That said, the buyers of these homes continue to want open floor plans and privatized open space. It’s true, the average urban home size is getting smaller, but that doesn’t mean homes have to feel small. Creative design solutions can be employed to allow these smaller spaces to feel big. By maximizing light and providing flexibility in the use of space, a home can feel as big if not bigger than the existing housing stock that is compartmentalized and out- dated. Connecting the open floor plan design to outdoor space will not only provide a great indoor-outdoor relationship, it will also allow flexibility in lifestyle and provide a much bigger read on the space itself. What trends do you see when it comes to incorporating outdoor and communal space into urban housing communities? Private outdoor spaces are still very important to homebuyers. With the smaller footprint of home in today’s world, the rooftop deck is becoming more and more popular. Not only does it give you a unique and dramatic open space, it allows for a very compact design. How have the aesthetics, layouts, and amenities of urban housing changed in recent years? Aesthetics in recent years have proven to take more of a primary role in the design of a home, especially in urban markets. A discern- ing buyer has many options in the marketplace and can hold out for the best look and feel fea- tured in the design of a community. While there are still many communities that want ar- chitecture to be a backdrop or tucked away be- hind mature landscaping, there are many if not more opportunities where new neighborhoods are highly visible from public streets and have a higher profile in defining a city’s image. A push for a more contemporary and modern touch has been a focus in many of our current designs. In any architectural style, we empha- size the clean lines of the buildings with the simplicity of detail. The intent is to articulate the building facade and provide a timeless ap- proach to the aesthetics. Many of the amenities provided in urban infill take the adjacent downtown and neigh- borhood into consideration. These existing fa- cilities are a huge draw to prospective buyers. In many ways, the city is their back- yard or playground. That said, the amenities can be fairly passive with social gathering places such as outdoor kitchens, fire pits with seating, etc., all creating an “outdoor room” experience. What are the challenges in planning new urban housing today? Urban infill sites are filled with unique characteristics, from geometrically challenged lots bound by commercial uses, to rail lines, to the magnificent view of the adjacent hillsides and city lights. The design of urban housing needs to be both contextual and responsive to all of these factors. Turning constraints into opportunities is the key to a successful solu- tion. Through design, whether it is home ori- entation or site planning efficiency, as a team we can add value to a given property. ■ Arroyo Walk included a community patio surrounding a 250-year-old oak tree as a focal point. 2017_18Pages_OlsonCopy_PortAnniversary 12/22/17 11:31 AM Page 25