The 10 C's for Designing for Millennials
As the largest cohort of renters today, what matters to Millennials matters to designers. From a desire for “honest” materials to Internet connectivity, here are 10 key things this generation seeks in living space, according to research by Bisnow partner Martin Architectural Group assistant project manager Annaliese Trehan.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.