The Future of Everything covers the innovation and technology transforming the way we live, work and play, with monthly issues on health, money, artificial intelligence and more. This month is Cities & Real Estate, online starting June 4 and in the paper on June 11.

For some residents, the gated community in the Arizona desert is their first go at suburban living. The 222 houses have tile roofs, garages and white-fenced backyards where residents host barbecues and their dogs play. But these aren’t forever homes, or even starters: They are one- and two-bedroom rentals, with rents starting at $1,420 a month.

Subdivisions such as Christopher Todd Communities on Happy Valley, located about 30 miles outside of downtown Phoenix, were built for renters from the start. Owner and developer Todd Wood, a former organic food mogul, started his real-estate company almost five years ago to seize on what he saw as an…

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