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How Digital Connectedness and Relationship Have Fostered a New Type of Design

Why Gen Z’s lifestyle is disrupting residential spaces

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Gen Z is projected to become the largest US consumer population in the next decade, with research findings they will soon account for nearly 68 million people in the U.S. With the oldest coming in at just 23 years (Gen Z consists of children and young adults born from 1997 to 2012), this generation stands poised to not only make up a significant population of apartment renters, but also to dictate the ideal lifestyle they want in a residential space.

Gen Z’s constant digital connectedness, deep roots in community and relationships, and their conscientious approach to the world not only define their way of life, but also how they expect to live.  

Here are a few ways Gen Z has transformed the way future generations dwell. 

A constant eye to something new and unique

Gen Z has never known a world that wasn’t connected. Growing up with social media and the internet, this cohort finds answers nearly instantaneously; expects convenience in everything; and keeps their pulse on the most popular movements and styles. 

These trends pervade every aspect of Gen Z’s lifestyle, including where and how they choose to live. Cutting-edge technology, such as smart appliances, not only make for more productive spaces, they are a staple of the future. 

Look no further than the transition away from standard apartment features. At Broadstone Archive, for instance, our top-of-the-line amenities include a cross-training gym, vibrant karaoke room, fully outfitted co-working space and a Formula 1 racing simulator. These elements offer an elevated and unmatched residential experience in comparison to traditional apartment living. It’s an opportunity to see their homes as a destination in itself, a “one-stop shop” for all their live-work-play needs.

Along with community spaces that differentiate your property, future-focused residential designers should lean into in-unit amenities that offer convenience and tap into technology. Luxury features and accessible, easy-to-use accommodations are essential to capturing this generation’s attention. 

Remember to connect to value

Gen Z wants trendy, unique spaces at an affordable rate. They’re even open to non-traditional living situations in order to make this an economical option. This means finding innovative ways to build in sophistication, while also catering to co-living and shared communal spaces to drive down costs. 

No longer does this generation look to a standard layout in an apartment with one master. Rather, to promote their lifestyle (which often centers around co-living) and foster work-life productivity (through common use spaces), the time has come to reimagine the residential living space. The Park & Paseo collection in Orange County, solves this problem by creating spacious units that are roommate-friendly with dual master suites. 

Also, consider the trend toward mixed-used space. Focus on areas for working and entertaining in-home, as well as uniquely styled and structured areas throughout the property itself. After all, a balanced lifestyle is no longer an option for this generation. 

Current and future designs should include units that separate living and working spaces, private and communal co-working options and in-home features like smart home technology. And while it might not be considered design, the use of reliable and speedy internet service, as well as various charging stations, is crucial for the work-from-home lifestyle many of us have grown accustomed to. 

Design around passion

Rallying around common causes and areas of interest is critical for the rising generation. No longer is this separated from how they live. In fact, it is one of their main reasons for living. 

When Gen Z looks for a residence, they are looking for a partner, an organization they can believe in. They don’t want to just see a brand, they want to know what it stands for. 

The question then becomes how can you share your brand’s stance on social and economic issues? To start, make your mission and vision a prominent feature for residents. Arrange community nights around common interests and idea sharing. Allow multi-use spaces to be rented out to local groups for Q&A sessions and networking. 

Organizing opportunities for service-oriented initiatives that build on the natural desire of people of all ages, but especially Gen Z, to give back to their community is key. For instance, Broadstone Archive partnered with the local Salvation Army chapter to host a toy drive for the holiday season, offering residents multiple chances to participate, including a Tree Lighting event centering the charitable component.  

Further, look for ways to extend into outdoor spaces. Create shared outdoor social spaces, like parks and rooftop terraces that promote camaraderie amongst residents and their social groups. Find ways to connect your building to a larger community where amenities like groceries, hair salons and retail are all within walking distance, encouraging environmental awareness. 

Utilize disruption for the better

Gen Z’s way of life has changed how we work, play and even live. It would be wise to look to them for insight into how we can disrupt previously held notions of residential life. After all, good design should be based on the lifestyle of the person you hope will one day live there. By weaving in the story of residents in a building, you create a sense of belonging and home.

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