New Engagement Rules for New Residents

What characteristics define an attractive community? In today's terms an attractive city offers diverse housing and transportation choices, provides walkable and bikeable routes to recreation, and attracts employment and job creation. But beyond this, a desirable community actively ensures that citizens are highly engaged and are key drivers in community decision making. 

The millennial population (generally those born during the period 1983-2001) is expanding their share of the employment market while they also are forming households and moving in large numbers to urbanized areas. Coincidently, this same group has grown up being exposed to city planning through youth forums, youth advisory boards and/or youth voting positions on city boards and commissions. NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families (IYEF) has in fact developed important guidebooks and reports to encourage positive youth engagement in city initiatives; publications such as the Authentic Youth Civic Engagement Guide, for example. 

In a similar vein, the baby boomer population (born during the period 1946 - 1964) is now exiting the workforce in large numbers and seeking to settle in a community characterized by active living opportunities as well as prospects for some kind of employment that will make use of their lifetime of experience. And, like the Millennials, the Boomers are not interested in sitting on the sidelines when important matters of quality of life are being debated for the community. 

This confluence of demographic patterns and preferences among these two very large population groups is shaping the future of cities. The needs and preferences of both the younger and aging populations is impacting local planners and city policy makers. It is essential that city leaders understand the shared characteristics of these populations in order to connect with, engage, and recruit the talents of these residents and soon-to-be residents.   

During the 90th Anniversary Congress of Cities and Exhibition in Austin, Texas, November 19-22, NLC will host a workshop entitled Harnessing the Strenth of Millennials and Boomers in Your Community. The workshop will highlight how cities are successfully engaging the millennial and baby boomer generations in decision making.

Among the speakers is Shari Davis, Director of the Boston Youth Zone and former Boston Youth Council member. Ms. Davis will speak on the accomplishments of the first ever youth participatory budgeting project, titled Youth Lead the Change. The Boston Youth Council encouraged Boston's teens and young adults to help determine how $1 million in city capital funds would be spent. In total, Boston's work includes recruiting youth to brainstorm initial funding ideas, participation in project design and funding strategies, and lastly, encouraging youth ages 12 to 25 to vote on which projects receive funding. 

John Marron, another speaker, is a policy analyst at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute. His work with the Indiana Community AGEnda in cities such as Huntington and Bloomington focuses on aging in place strategies and on the value of intergenerational community engagement.

City leaders that know who's moving into their communities and know how to appropriately engage their new and existing populations will continue to attract a diverse and thriving resident base.  Take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to increase the attractiveness of your city by engaging the millennial and baby boomer populations as credible and insightful voices in community development. 

Learn more and register for the conference today for the lowest rates! The early bird registration deadline is September 30th!