Designing Multifamily with Emphasis on Lifestyle, Community and Flexibility

The way we view our homes has changed, perhaps forever. The things we value, the spaces we love and the parts we wish we could change all look different after months spent mostly in the confines of our home. What this will mean for home design is the big question. Beyond surface-level changes, we are likely in store for some fundamental shifts and an acceleration of certain trends we were seeing pre-pandemic, particularly in multifamily. In our work helping builders and developers design, merchandise and market multifamily communities across the nation, we are already seeing some of these shifts beginning to play out.

Lifestyle vs. Demographic-Driven Design

First, we anticipate a movement toward designing for more diverse, connected communities driven by a combination of the pandemic and the social upheaval we are experiencing as a country, which have both revealed the disadvantages of siloed living.

For years we’ve cautioned our clients against designing just for a single demographic. What we should instead be talking about is buyer personas. What do the people who will rent or buy here want from their lifestyle? What do they value? The answers to these questions transcend age, culture, and race and socioeconomic status.

Factors like location choice say more about the potential buyer’s persona than age. Developers in dense urban environments, for example, are recognizing that millennials and empty-nesters are looking for many of the same things – low-maintenance living, walkability, etc. – in their home.

This also applies to suburban multifamily communities. Taking cues from hospitality, Westminster Row offers community spaces that feel more like a chic boutique hotel lobby than a traditional clubhouse, creating an experience that appeals equally to younger and older couples alike.

By focusing on lifestyle factors that appeal to a diverse range of people, developers can create a richer experience for residents. Ultimately, this will lead to a more vibrant, marketable community with greater long-term viability.

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