Those Millenials and their “Walkability”: A Look into My Generation’s Impact

There seems to be quite a bit of interest in my generation these days: What do Millennials like? What type of work environments do Millennials perform best in? Where do Millennials prefer to live? How are Millennials different than the Baby Boomers? COMM Millenial Blog 2015 12

As I frequently travel the Interstate 80 corridor from San Francisco to Reno, what fascinates me most about my generation is how we are influencing city and town planners. The developers and local governments appear to be thinking differently, more sustainably, about new development or redevelopment in order to attract our generation to their respective communities. Whether it’s a large city such as Sacramento or Reno or a small town such as Truckee, you are seeing a rebirth of once dilapidated downtowns. Millenials desire communities that are affordable, have great restaurants, nightlife, grocery stores, shops, parks, and efficient public transit all within walking distance of our residences. 

Reno’s pedestrian friendly neighborhoods of Midtown and Downtown have seen an influx of great new restaurants, craft breweries, fitness centers, cocktail bars, and cool new apartments such as 3rd Street Flats. There is a thriving arts scene that hosts year-round events and for sports enthusiasts there is a Triple-A baseball stadium, home of the Reno Aces. This redevelopment has made these neighborhoods attractive to Millennials looking to relocate from the suburbs.

Sacramento’s Downtown neighborhood has undergone a dramatic transformation thanks to the anticipation of the Sacramento Kings new stadium, Golden 1 Center, in early October 2016. The new stadium will not only be home to the NBA team, but will also serve as an entertainment venue for many of the country’s top acts and will be accessible by public transit or by foot from the surrounding neighborhoods. The Millennial hotspot of Midtown has seen a dramatic increase in great new restaurants, nightlife options, and hip apartments all within walking distance to the multitude of the city’s amenities and year round events.

In Truckee, Sierra Business Council recently secured an $8 million grant through the California Strategic Growth Council for Truckee Railyard Partners. The grant will catalyze the development of 60 of workforce housing and single/multiple-family homes at the Truckee Railyard site immediately adjacent to Truckee’s historic downtown as a part of the larger $100 million private sector revitalization plan for the site. Included in the developmentSBC TruckeeRailyard Phase1 2015 06 30 copy will be a movie and performing arts theater, brewpub restaurant, grocery store, and a retail building with an office above. This project will be a game-changer for the rebirth of Truckee’s downtown. Plus, it demonstrates that smart workforce housing and transportation projects in rural regions can create jobs, reduce climate impacts, and attract Millennials (as everything we want will be within walking distance) all at the same time!

Here at Sierra Business Council we pride ourselves on advocating for local projects that build economic, human, and environmental capital. As a Millennial I’m excited to be part of a shift focusing on reinvesting in city cores and sustainable redevelopment. I hope to pass you on the sidewalk sometime soon!