Designing the Gen X urban village

Affordability: Design smaller-sized 4-6 story unfinished loft-style units (like these here by Dover Kohl, an urban design firm that fundamentally understands this market) with flexible open floor plans and some detailing to add character. Do the same with office space. Encourage the retailers to keep it simple and aim for artful practicality and efficiency over status. Think Parisian neighborhoods.

Entertainment & Nightlife: Center the village around a carless piazza (that should be a pleonasm) where people can socialize spontaneously 24/7 without having to buy anything. Support a proactive community center and online network that focuses on building people connections – they’ll in turn advocate for the kind of entertainment they want.

Jobs: For the entrepreneurs, just focus on the above and support them as a guild to secure health insurance and venture capital. For those seeking more established 9-5 jobs, seek out CEOs like Charles Brewer of Mindspring who wanted to relocate his 3000 employees in a “Gen X urban village”, but just couldn’t find one anywhere in the U.S. At least that’s what he told me.

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