Urban planning for the Millennial mindset
December 23, 2015
Without the benefit of an enduring, sensible master plan, an urban environment will at some point need to undergo some degree of redevelopment. One of the considerations that will contribute to the success of such a plan or redevelopment is a consideration of age demographics. What is the median age of the community members that are currently engaged in the environment? Which age group do you wish to attract? What do demographic projections predict about the age distribution that is likely to occur?
Among the criteria that have driven our plan for Midtown Fort Myers are the preferences of a younger generation. Dispensing with the clichés of the past, Florida is now attracting greater numbers of folks under 40. In fact, the median age in Fort Myers currently is 35-36. Millennials represent 1/3 of the U.S. population. So the time is now to begin building environments and communities that consider a younger stakeholder, and their children as stakeholders-to-be.
For our purposes – and this is reflected in the Midtown plan, along with other major projects – we consider that Millennials:
- Are technology savvy
- Are community-oriented
- Desire free time for recreation
- Desire creative work environments
- Typically live in mid-sized cities (20,000 – 200,000)
According to the Millennial mindset, if we can generalize, key principles will include walkable, mixed-use environments, park space as a focal point, and an environment that fosters community building and an all-encompassing sense of livability. Whereas earlier generations were OK with compartmentalizing their lives, Milliennials offer a wisdom that satisfaction is attained when all aspects of life are meaningful. And we contend that this can start with a built environment that is interconnected.