Posts Tagged ‘Millennials’

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WE NEED PEOPLE

September 24, 2014

The PB article in Saturday’s paper entitled “We Need People” mentioned improving quality of life via new restaurants and art venues….which is valid…but certainly that is not the full picture!

After my first twelve (12) weeks here, I have a list of a few things I think also need to be addressed/added:

The Traditionalist and Boomer voices are loud and clear in their wishes but I am somewhat uncomfortable in these community meetings to look around at the sea of gray hair as I think to myself…where are the Millennials? Building for the future does not make sense if that new vision will only appeal to those of us that will no longer be in the workforce once that vision is realized – twenty years from now.

From what I learned about the Millennials when I was involved in similar “place-making” projects in Minneapolis – this is a big mistake! In fact, much of the energy and forward-thinking ideas that became part of PLAN-it Hennepin came from the students at Fair School that were integrated into our teams.

They were incredible; and their perspective often redirected the rest of us as we overlooked some fairly important elements- as they politely steered us back on the path of what will be needed IN THE FUTURE.

We need to remember that the Millennials are not a car generation; nor are they a house-in-suburb generation. To get more people to live here to provide that needed pool for labor, we might want to think bikers and walkers; public transportation options, and downtown housing needs.

And, as a city dweller for most of last twenty (20) years, I learned that also means grocery stores, office supplies, and a Walmart/Target-type option.

I know from my house search this Spring – there are not a lot of options downtown today. Since I arrived, I have experimented with the public transportation system occasionally and can get to Apache, Crossroads and Silver Lake Shopping Center without much trouble. It is less friendly if I want to visit one of my siblings living in Rochester. And I certainly miss HOUR CAR or a similar option when I need a big grocery run.

I recognize I have been influenced by interactions with leaders in creative city-making such as Charles Landry, Candy Chang, and especially Gil Penelosa during their residencies in MSP, so my intuition says to create not only a functional city, but also a happy city, we need more dreamers to balance out the gray-haired nay-sayers!

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THE NEW BOOM OF PUBLIC TRANSIT

March 23, 2014

“Due to demographics, high gas prices, a recovering economy, and faster, more convenient service, transit use is soaring.”

What a welcoming way to start a new week to read that in the STRIB this morning!

Indeed, Millennials and older Boomers take advantage as public transit sees a boom in ridership and yes, I agree…it’s a quality of life issue!  No traffic to consider, fight, or sit through; no worries about gas prices, parking availability, and cost, or even “where is it and how do I get there?” And certainly, it is nice to be oblivious to that nagging worry especially on icy roads of “what if I have an accident, or what if my car doesn’t start?”  But it is much more than that.

First and foremost, the weather or not wanting to drive does not make me a prisoner in my home; and even worse, a prisoner of the television.  Ugghh!  I may not have achieved it yet, but it is still an overarching goal learned at the Mayo Clinic that I am active and exercise the same amount of time that I am plunked in my easy chair in front of the Boob Tube. And indeed, not all buses to where I want to go depart from the Entrance Circle at the Churchill!  So a daily walk of an hour gets me on my way to balancing the 1.5 – 2.5 hours in a day I am “catching up” on the world via a TV screen.  Add to that, time spent walking to the bus stops, and I earn an added bonus!

I’ve mentioned several times how much more I have seen of the city and its surrounds in the past year as I can look at the surrounding neighborhoods rather than keeping my “eyes on the road”.  I head for a new destination, and I feel like I am on that familiar “City Tour” I knew so well in cities all over the world during my “incentive travel” life.   More important, the $4800 I saved between 2012 and 2014 allowed me to pay for my own medical care and not become dependent on government assistance with that….and maybe this year, it will help me move!

And equally important, I treasure those times when a conversation starts up between me and another passenger (usually with a Millenial-we Boomers still cling a bit too much to OLD habits! – Don’t make eye contact; don’t speak to strangers J) I hear new perspectives and I learn.

In other words, Public Transit gives me a better life!  It is the one thing that concerns me as I consider relocating to RST….their existing system is NOT QUITE  a replica yet of what we have going on here in MSP.

So when I hear the Mayor talk about problems with noise created to build the SW LRT, I can only shake my head and wonder.  That’s pretty irrelevant in the big picture-although realistically, I know I am taking that comment a bit out of context. 

Nevertheless, although it is only a PIPE DREAM, I think it’s time to take a hard stand on the SW LRT.  Maybe we need a city-wide vote or a vote by residents impacted that live within one mile either side of the route, or a vote using some other equitable measurement.  If the majority of the resulting stakeholders do not want the LRT; give it up with a moratorium of x years freeze on any consideration to build; then use the available dollars to invest elsewhere in the emerging system.  Yes, I am aware there is an issue with already approved Federal dollars for SW LRT…but I’m just dreamin’, remember?

The fact that a few are holding the city hostage is not acceptable, in view of today’s news in the STRIB of escalating costs to build the SW LRT for every new period of delay.

Then in my dreams, we also move forward and declare no cars allowed within a defined border of downtown – perhaps the circle created by intersecting interstates- without a permit.  It worked for the Horse and Carriage; maybe it’s time to start the same for cars! 

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The Millennials

October 27, 2012

Yesterday, the STRIB Business Section featured Coco as the “office” of the future. The accompanying photo caught its “visual” essence superbly; but only if you stop in for a visit, does one catch the positive vibe! I’ve mentioned in the past how much I admire the concept and rennovated space; in fact, if I was not sitting in my home office (read: free space) only 3-4 blocks away, I’d like to think I’d be composing this from there!

However, I think the article focus conveyed a more important message:…the Millennial workforce and the changes they are bringing to the business world.

I have aired some thoughts on this in my August 30 blog, and again last week, I mentioned an inspiring “breakfast with a Preservationist” meeting led by a panel of the “Under 30s”.

Nevertheless, I think Don Jacobson nailed it in his article featuring Coco and why it is appealing to the Millennials. It is because, these Millennials, like the transitional early Boomers, have a very different view ofthe world in which they find themselves…and are clamouring for change. No one my age can honestly say they cannot relate, so my suggestion is we hang on, listen and learn!!

Ponder on these comments by Jacobson and the message from Thomas Fisher, Dean of UM College of Design to a gathering of commercial building owners :

That highly covered corner office may just be more passe than powerful.

Thanks to profound social and economic changes brought on by the Internet, millennials are reshaping the so-called office. They want to do away with the hierarchiacal layouts of the past and build collaborative spaces where they can rub elbows with clients and colleagues.

Millennials…see privacy as a negative…by 2025, “the office” as we know it will probably be gone.

How they use space flips what we have today: Most of an office will be open, flexible and fluid in its use, with only occasional need for private space.

The transformative power of the the Internet on how young workers will do their jobs, has, if anything, been underestimated.

…millennials preferences for live-work hybrid spaces that combine not only apartments and offices, but also small manufacturing functions….

Yes, this paradigm shift poses challenges and threatens city zoning codes, but we cannot rigidly hold on to the past if we want to succeed as a country in present times.

For the millenials, the office space isn’t necessarily a place to do work, it’s a place to network. It’s a place to be with other people and generate as much creative activity as possible.

The audience was also cautioned that places of work within 15 years will need to be accessible by bicycle and mass transit. Firsher cautioned the audience that “If you’re only accessible by car, you’re going to find people starting to look elsewhere.”

These comments so reinforce what I have been observing and commenting on. My regret? I won’t live long enough to see where this generation ultimately steers our world-and I know that will be a bold new world led by Americans fueled by innovation and collaboration and not restricted by the rules and regs we Boomers have adjusted to…that created the stalled and divisive state in which Americans live today.