What characteristics define an attractive community? These days, an attractive city offers diverse housing and transportation choices, provides walkable and bikeable routes to recreation, and spurs employment and job creation. But beyond this, a desirable community actively ensures that citizens are highly engaged and are key drivers in community decision making.
The millennial population (generally those born during the period 1983-2001) is expanding their share of the employment market while they also are forming households and moving in large numbers to urbanized areas. Coincidently, this same group has grown up being exposed to city planning through youth forums, youth advisory boards and/or youth voting positions on city boards and commissions. NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families (IYEF) has in fact developed important guidebooks and reports to encourage positive youth engagement in city initiatives; publications such as Authentic Youth Civic Engagement Guide, for example.
In a similar vein, the baby boomer population (born during the period 1946 – 1964) is now exiting the workforce in large numbers and seeking to settle in a community characterized by active living opportunities as well as prospects for some kind of employment that will make use of their lifetime of experience. And, like the Millennials, the Boomers are not interested in sitting on the sidelines when important matters of quality of life are being debated for the community.
This confluence of demographic patterns and preferences among these two very large population groups is shaping the future of cities. The needs and preferences of both the younger and aging populations are impacting local planners and city policy makers. It is essential that city leaders understand the shared characteristics of this popular in order to connect with, engage, and recruit the talents of these residents and soon-to-be residents.
During the 90th Anniversary Congress of Cities Conference and Exhibition in Austin, Texas, November 19-22, 2014, NLC will host the workshop entitled, The Harnessing the Strenth of Millennials and Boomers in Your Community. The workshop will highlight how cities are successfully engaging the millennial and baby boomer generations in decision making.
City leaders that know who’s moving into their communities and know how to appropriately engage their new and existing populations will continue to attract diverse and thriving residents. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn about increasing the attractiveness of your city by engaging the millennial and baby boomer populations as credible and insightful voices in community development.
By James Brooks and Stephanie Kilam