Generation X (those in their 30’s) and Generation Y (those in their 20’s) have some pretty strong opinions about what they want for themselves in the future as well as what they want in the cities and towns where they live.
Research shows that Gen X and Y are attracted to cities and communities that are urban, central, family oriented with exciting job opportunities. The types of industries that are attractive to Gen X and Y are:
Gen X, Y and Zoomers are all environmentally aware; each group sees things from their own lens. Gen X and Y feel that environmental concerns and good business can co-exist. Many Zoomers feel that you can’t be environmentally focused and still create business profits.
This summer I traveled to Rome with my husband. We were in awe with the number of historic landmarks that were being modernized as well as the number of new buildings being put up right next to the older buildings. Also, we noticed that everyone seemed to walk or cycle everywhere.
In Vancouver where I live we have a current controversy over adding bike lanes on Hornby Street, which will remove parking spots. The debate from the business owners (mostly Zoomers) is that they will lose business. The debate from the cyclists (a mix of Gen X, Y and some Zoomers) is that we are becoming a greener city and that there is plenty of parkade parking to accommodate the cars.
When Vancouver announced its plans to build a newer and larger convention center there was enormous debate with people wanting to protect their self-interests. In the end progress won due to the fact that the 2010 Olympics were coming and that Vancouver could not house the larger conventions that our city to the south (Seattle) was attracting.
The great debate about what to do for the future has been happening since the beginning of time. In fact, when travel went from steam ship and rail to air travel there was a tremendous upheaval and the debates at that time was quite contentious.
When it comes to progress there always seems to be upheaval or disruption before acceptance; once there is acceptance the progress happens quite quickly. The winner of the great debate over the future is ideally all of us. The question to ask ourselves regardless of our personal demographic is: “What is the best decision for the future of our city, our next generation and the generations to follow?”
Cheryl Cran, CSP, will be the Keynote Speaker at the Greater Halifax Partnership's Building Our Future luncheon on Wednesday, October 6th 2010. She is the author of the bestseller, “101 Ways to Make Generations X, Y and Zoomers Happy at Work” and is an international expert on leadership and generations in the workplace.