Developing for “Hipsturbia”

Newland is capitalizing on this trend to maximize the market and appeal to homebuyers

By Hunter Matthews

With the launch of 2020, millennials are gathering their new families and moving to the suburbs … but in search of a specific lifestyle. Homebuyers are seeking a location that has the modern conveniences of an urban downtown while still offering the affordability and the “open air” of the suburbs. Dubbed “hipsturbia,” this trend entails a migration to a suburban destination where life’s necessities and conveniences – from the grocery store or nail salon to the office headquarters – are just a stroll from your front door. “Cool” or “hip” social options abound, hence the name.

Since millennials form a large segment of today’s homebuyers, builders and developers would be wise to hone their market strategies in response. Newland, one of the country’s largest private residential developers, has long been creating interconnected, mixed-use communities similar to the hipsturbia trend.

Cool Town Centers: A Mixed-Use Megaton

Newland designs its communities as an interwoven tapestry of mixed-use offerings. Businesses and retail are not ancillary additions but rather strategic cornerstones from inception, reflected in both the type and the location. Newland curates retail options that meet residents’ daily demands as well as those that add social equity. Wendell Falls, one of the largest master-planned communities in the Triangle, North Carolina, designed its 4,000 planned homes around Treelight Square, its “suburban downtown” slated to brim with things like a distillery and boutiques. Create a portfolio of both large anchors and local establishments positioned centrally as the community’s own downtown.

Intentional Outdoor Spaces

Homebuyers within the hipsturbia trend prize quality time and memorable experiences over possessions. Millennials are looking to “do life” alongside their families and friends. In fact, research shows that these homebuyers actually prefer denser housing. Not only do smaller lots free extra time normally spent doing yard work, denser housing makes room for additional common spaces and social interaction. Briar Chapel, a Newland community in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, peppers its community with activated open spaces, such as carefully placed pocket parks. Great Meadow Park, for example, sports an event stage and pavilion, along with a volleyball court and outdoor fitness equipment. Other parks include a hammock park, dog park, community garden, and sports court – welcoming all walks of life to forge relationships through shared experiences. Land plans should maximize lot density in favor of parks and common areas.

Stocked Social Calendars

Hipsturbia blends an optimum location with an active lifestyle – city living in the country scene. And millennials expect a bevy of social experiences to be at their fingertips. Hence, Newland caters to this demand through a packed community calendar. On-site full-time activities directors, along with resident leaders, plan trivia competitions, live concerts, yoga on the green, craft classes, wine and design nights, and card clubs. Developers should cultivate an environment with the proper business relationships and staffing structure to facilitate an attractive, diverse social calendar.

Top-Edge Technology

Home technology is no longer a luxury; it’s baseline expectation. Millennials demand that their homes incorporate the latest and greatest eco-friendly technology, which Newland delivers with community-wide green-building programs. Briar Chapel, for example, has saved its residents $6 million since the community’s inception through its sustainable building measures. Leverage technology to offer smarter living options along with whimsical and playful applications.

What better place for millennials to lay a foundation than an active, hipsturbia community that allows growth while offering the very things that will encourage them to stay firmly rooted.

Hunter Matthews is the Director of Marketing for the Raleigh Division of Newland. To learn more, please visit

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