(This is part 2 of a 4 part series.) When it comes to housing and communities, the Boomers and Millennials share many of the same needs and wants. Maybe we can build homes and communities that work for both? Maybe they are one group: Boomerennials?
In the first post of this series I drew some parallels between Boomers and Millennials around the subject of Maker Culture; both groups want to make stuff from jam to chairs to pots to bread.
Another major overlap in attitudes between the two largest demographic groups on the planet is about health and wellness.
The weightlifting and cardio regimes of days gone by are almost comical to many millennials. They don't want to get fat, or be unhealthy, but they just can't see themselves crowding into a gym to build better biceps, or duct-taping themselves to a treadmill to loose a few pounds when some snowboarding or a hike will get them to the same destination. Yoga? Yes. Pilates? Of course. They are also driving healthy-living choices like organic foods, and non-GMO produce, and would prefer to eat a 100-mile diet if they could figure out how. Walk through your local Whole Foods and count the percentage of Millennials in there, looking for the grass-fed butter.
Now if I was lazy, I could cut and paste that entire preceding paragraph, substitute the word Boomer for Millennial and no one would be the wiser. For Boomers share many of the same ideas about health and wellness that the Millennials do. Plus, they have an added incentive. While their bodies are aging, naturally, as they move between the 50-year-old and 70-year-old bookends that define the Boomer age category, they sure don't feel like they are 50 or 70, or anywhere in between. Saying "60 is the new 40" out loud has become an inescapable proclamation, mostly from 60 year olds. Boomers are responding to the memories of their parents' declining health by embracing swimming, hiking, skydiving, skiing, snowboarding, and yes, yoga and pilates. They are eating grass-fed butter and organic meat and non-GMO fruits and vegetables. And it seems to be working. Average life expectancy in developed nations is growing by leaps and bounds.
So, both Boomers and Millennials crave long-term health and wellness. What can this help us create when it comes to homes and communities? Maybe the scrap of space in the back of the towers we build, filled with substandard weight machines and ineffective cardio machines, should be banned. Maybe what we need instead are climbing walls, ski-weekend-shuttle-buses and a building manager that teaches yoga in the mornings? Boomers and Millennials, Boomerennials, downward-dogging before the day begins, side-by-side, in the building they all call home.