The “Millennials” — or the generation born between the mid 80’s and late ’90s — and are the largest generation in history with more than 1.8 Billion.
This generation is coming to the city in droves:
What’s happening now is that today’s young adults — the so-called Millennial generation — are both more numerous than the immediately preceding generation, and are demonstrating a greater propensity to spend a larger share of their early adult years living in cities.
And while previous generations would have found rentals and roommates on classified sites, through friends or via agencies, the next generation is using their smartphone to find their flatmates, housemates, or roommates (depending on what continent you live on).
How will the Digital Generation reshape the way that we live in cities?
We see many companies popping up nowadays promising to be the “Tinder of Roommates,” where young people are one swipe away from finding their true “match” in a living environment.
But unlike dating, the chemistry inside a home requires a different type of matching. And the home itself has to be conducive to social activity and connection, because unlike a dating site, you can’t just get up and leave if the match doesn’t go well. Most rentals require a lease, most sublets require a deposit, and most agencies charge large fees. Furthermore, within the home, most people in this generation are looking for a break from their technology:
At the same time, people are becoming busier, more likely to travel and have less time to know one another. The over-reliance on technology and social media exacerbates the trend of loneliness and isolation among Millennials.
Loneliness is a large and growing epidemic in the Millennial generation — estimates are that more than 40% of millennials suffer from chronic loneliness — and that’s why the co-living movement has exploded.
Furthermore, this is a generation that are looking for experiences in the environment around them. There are many city rankings by groups such as The Economist and other think tanks, but the 2017 Millennial City Ranking by Nestpick captures new insights about what this generation is looking for from an experiences perspective:
Nestpick’s rankings skew heavily towards European cities — with 9 of the top 10 cities being European — but that makes sense if you factor in the ‘Housing Score’ of most major global gateway cities (New York, London, Shanghai) and the easy access to experiences.
The millennials and other future generations want entertainment, access to local experiences and group activities to complement their home life, and they increasingly prefer to use public and group transport methods to do it.
Vision Towards the Future
When you combine the need for human connection in the living environment with the desire for vibrant cities, it’s clear that there is a need for ‘matching’ platforms, but only if there are corresponding experience metrics to measure how people actually feel in the home and how connected the home is to the community.
Loneliness, isolation and digital addiction are problems that increasingly plague this generation, and we need to create a new definition for shared living that addresses these problems without compromising experience.
We see a future where people of all ages can live together in homes, apartments and condos of all shapes and sizes, and find that rare and priceless sense of connection no matter where they are living. As mobility, flexibility and the freedom to move homes become bedrocks for how we live, creating a way to measure and track experience quality becomes the key to unlocking this vision in cities.
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