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Thursday, December 3, 2015


The 10 C's for Designing for Millennials

There was an interesting article posted recently to the bisnow.com website by a firm called Martin Architectural Group, titled 'The 10 C's for Designing for Millennials' and thought it would be interesting to see how closely the Starter Home 2.0 Pleasant Ridge project aligns with the list (aside from the fact that the article speaks more to apartments than homes). Here are the 10 C's and a description from the article for each. My reactions are in red.
  1. Connectivity: Millennials are the first generation to natively incorporate technology into their daily lives, preferring virtual communications and up-to-date technologies to pens and paperwork. Internet access and cell reception throughout an apartment community should be considered a must. When searching for an apartment, their first stop is a web search, and their last will be electronically signing their lease. And then they'll use the Internet to pay rent and submit maintenance requests. The Starter Home 2.0 has strong wi-fi throughout the house and plenty of cable and power outlets that let me use my phone, tablet and laptop anywhere in the house.
  2. Context: Whether it's in a city core or a more suburban town center, Millennials are favoring urban living and mixed-used properties. In fact, unlike their parents, Millennials will gladly sacrifice personal space to live in a good location, with a grocery store and other cultural stops nearby. The Starter Home 2.0 is urban and walkable, but that isn't at the expense of sacrificing personal space. 
  3. Choice: Growing up in the age of the Internet and big-box stores, Millennials are used to having many options and expect to be able to choose their preferred living arrangement. It's important to have a variety of unit sizes available so you can appeal to the wide range of tastes and preferences. Not applicable, but as the architect and developer for the Starter Home 2.0 project, I definitely was able to choose what I wanted the house to be like.
  4. Content: With apartment units shrinking, Millennials are forgoing personal spaces, and common spaces are becoming infinitely more valuable. Not only are lobbies taking their cue from hotels with high-design elements and construction, but buildings are also adding more amenity spaces—roof decks, fire pits, infinity pools or putting greens (pictured)—to supplement the smaller living quarters. Neighborhood amenities like a pool, tennis courts, etc. are within close proximity to the house.
  5. Community: Whether its on social media or in person, Millennials love to hang out and communicate with each other. They'll be more likely to renew a lease if their friends live in the same apartment community and there are ample opportunities to run into each other throughout their days. Tailoring your property to create these kinds of relationships and communities will create a long-term, stable tenant base. Pleasant Ridge has plenty of Millennials, but the community diversity is what makes it a great place to live in my opinion.
  6. Convenience: The live/work/play mentality has become the new American Dream. With flexible working arrangements, blurred boundaries between work and play and online capabilities, Millennials are finding that they can do everything they want at home or somewhere else in their building. It's up to a developer to create a community that can present renters convenient access to all of life's necessities and comforts. Today I worked from home in the morning while getting my dishwasher repaired and then made the 5-minute commute down the road to work, which was quite convenient.
  7. Comfort: Whenever a renter comes to a new space, they're looking for a level of comfort that can have them live their lives as they have in the past, or even better. A clean environment and an accomodating fitness center have become more important for renters looking to live a restful and heathy livestyle. Sidewalks on every street in the neighborhood are great for runners like myself. The rec center and several other gyms are nearby as well.
  8. Customization: Millennials do not like to fit into any molds and look for ways to differentiate themselves from their parents and express their individuality. Giving them a blank canvas they can make their own will make an apartment all the more appealing. I started with a vacant lot, which is about as blank of a canvas as you can get when it comes to making a home your own.
  9. Character: Constantly on the search for character and authenticity, Millennials know a gimmick when they see one and will always prefer a more "honest" material and property. Quality materials that are easy to maintain but different from what they may find in their parents’ home, such as recycled glass or quartz countertops (shown), for instance, will catch their eye. Spot on with the quartz countertops! I also refuse to use vinyl siding in any of my projects, which is the king of 'dishonest' materials.
  10. Cost: Millennials are taught to be highly considerate of the environment and thus value green and sustainable technologies and amenities that don't break the bank. In fact, you'll often finding them choosing car shares, public transit, walking or bikes over having a car of their own. So having this green tech and proximity to public transit will be invaluable for the success of your property. Located within 30 seconds of the bus stop, I make sure to take advantage of my proximity to public transit whenever I can.
After reading the article above I would have to say that the Starter Home 2.0 project definitely gets a 10/10 when it comes to the 10 C's for designing for Millennials.