The idea of a living near the office or workplace is not new. It was the norm in America before the advent of the automobile, when miles of pavement stretched the distance between where people lived and where they worked for the first time.

But developers of both for-sale and rental homes say that trend is now reversing itself rapidly as technology alters the concept of work as a place and demographics change the lifestyle demands of consumers. In addition, when these remote workers finally clock out, they want to be able to walk to amenities like restaurants, shopping, clubs, and movies.

These shifts, industry insiders say, are transforming residential development and the strategy builders and developers apply to their businesses. The focus is now on a live/work/play mentality, says Russell Tepper, senior managing director for Dallas-based Mill Creek Residential, which has developed 25,000 apartments in more than 90 communities since 2011.