The Death of Suburban Sprawl?

Ok, that is an exaggeration. But in a recent article in New Jersey Spotlight, the changing face of the suburban office park was presented for consideration. Specifically, the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy recently released a report on the new employment dynamics of the suburban office market.

As reported, the article points out that the classic suburban sprawl model of development is rapidly becoming outmoded. It is this model, big office parks are beginning to be recognized as an unsustainable model.

Ah, there is that word again…sustainable. Why are these corporate parks not sustainable?

Well, let’s see…the buildings are generally not near mass transportation, they separate people from their environment and the community, they are generally energy inefficient and they were generally built in an unhealthy manner.

What has changed? People.

Now people want to be connected (either electronically or in person). They want clean and green surroundings and they don’t want to sit in traffic all day.

A good example of this new trend is the pharmaceutical giant Merck. Some twenty years ago the company built a massive headquarters in Whitehouse Station. Now, they are moving to Summit; a city with mass transportation, a downtown and by all measures, a more lively environment.

MERCK massive headquarters in Whitehouse Station, NJ.
MERCK massive headquarters in Whitehouse Station, NJ. Steve Althouse / The Patriot News.

In fairness, the Whitehouse Station facility was quite lovely. But, it was simply not sustainable.

The article and report point out other examples of this new migration.

This is a positive trend. One that may very well lead to a new and sustainable working environment.

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