Study: Attracting young adults to your city

Continuing a look at the study (profiled in the previous entry) that concluded 64% of young adults choose place over job, here are the researchers’ recommendations on how to attract them.

First, cater to their top three aspirations:
To be healthy and safe. A clean, green, and safe city. Investment in attractive public places, green building and active streets (public safety).
To be your own boss. Lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs. Attainably-priced workplaces, entrepreneur assistance and networking events.
To be well connected. Lots of opportunities for social interaction. Public places and third places that facilitate this.

Second, don’t just talk about it, show potential residents where the cool neighborhoods are that do indeed cater to these aspirations. Check out a previous entry on this, How to experience the hidden community. Why is this so important?

The study shows people don’t move very far from where they’ve previously lived, mainly because they’re not very familiar with other places. The further away the city, the more stereotyped they are.

Take a look at the most preferred cities from the study surveys: New York (nightlife, jobs), San Francisco (jobs, recreation), San Diego (weather, beach), Los Angeles (weather, jobs), Seattle (progressive, diverse).

Then the least preferred cities: Anchorage (cold), New York (unsafe, a misperception), Washington DC (politicians, lawyers), cities in South Dakota and Alaska (middle of nowhere, cold).

The researchers feel these cities made either list because they’re the most stereotyped cities overall, rather than because people actually knew them firsthand.

There are countless other cities with neighborhoods that enjoy better weather, nightlife and jobs than those within the most preferred cities, even from the least preferred cities. Cities need to a better job of marketing and showing their destinations and neighborhoods to prospectives.

Tomorrow, a look at one city that does that extremely well.

Image: The antithesis of Washington DC’s stereotype – Adams Morgan, an active neighborhood unknown to most who haven’t been there.

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