In the macro sense, we are entering a new world. There was the Agricultural Age, the Industrial Age, and now there is a new age. I call it the Connectivity Age. The millennials are the tip of the spear of this new world, the first generation of a new era.
There are three elements that most strongly characterize the Connectivity Age:
- The Internet
- Social Capitalism
Urbanism in the Connectivity Age
The world is rapidly and radically urbanizing. In the US, that urbanization isn’t just that New York is getting bigger, instead it is characterized by the rebirth of Main Street USA. Across the nation towns and cities are revitalizing their historic downtowns and urban districts. Millennials seek walkable urban districts to work in, play in, and live in. These are the places that recruit and retain this new talent.
The Internet in the Connectivity Age
The Internet is an absolute game-changer. It changes the way we communicate and therefore it changes everything. It changes the way we work, play, learn, and interact with information, media, and each other. The millennials don’t know a world without cell phones and the Internet and Google. These elements of connectivity are as basic as electricity, water, sewage. They are basic infrastructure needs at this point.
Social Capitalism in the Connectivity Age
There is a social consciousness in today’s capitalism. Organic, green, socially responsible, giving back, improving communities… these social elements are woven into the entrepreneurial activity of the millenials.
Make Your Town Thrive in a New Era
The revitalizing districts in the US can provide all three of these elements to the millennial generation – walkable urbanism, connectivity, and social opportunity to engage in co-creating their environment. The most important steps for these communities are to invest in a better urban district (infrastructure, green space, walking trails, facade improvements, etc.) and to find ways to engage students and young professionals in the process of redevelopment. Buy-in is key to recruitment and retention of talent. Talent is the key to our future economy.