Greenbuild Special: The Aging and Millennials both Craving Community

Hanley Wood’s HIVE Conference (Housing Innovation, Vision & Economics) has just wrapped up and now it’s time for me to move from the JW Marriott to the Los Angeles Convention Center to kick off the International Greenbuild Conference & Expo


Some key questions are swimming through my mind that I hope to discuss with experts in the Residential Pavilion and in several sessions on Housing offered at Greenbuild from Oct 5-7th.


Namely, how to…

Solve the Millennial Dilemma


Reinvent Our Homes and Communities for Aging Independence.


The Millennial dilemma is namely the trend that this generation is late to the first-time home buying and marriage age generally found in previous generations.  Speculation is that the Great Recession, student loan debt, and societal changes have left a gaping hole in the demand for housing from this group of young people.


The audience surveyed at HIVE unanimously raised their hands indicating they were looking forward to retirement, and did not raise their hands that they are looking forward to moving out of their homes into assisted living facilities. The truth is we are all living longer and it’s proven that the older generations value their independence and have the proportionally largest amount of dispensable income.  They also need varying degrees of medical care and they thrive in multi-generational settings.  It seems the days of the active adult community developments may be over.


Millennials and the elderly are both craving connection with community.  Cell phones and other time spent with screens or in isolated living situations have led many people to forget how to say, “Hello.”  As the Baby Boomers and the largest generations behind them age, including Millennials, a new paradigm in housing development is needed to ensure that people can remain in their homes—happy and healthy.


It turns out both ends of the population spectrum value home ownership, but neither is car-dependent.  Both enjoy walkable communities with green public spaces to interact with and amenities nearby, as well as public transportation.  Hollwich Kushner, the architects behind WeWork, announced a new concept in living at HIVE.  Similar to the office’s concept of shared workspaces, WeLive is co-sharing for dwellings.  There are some examples of such spaces already for the elderly, mostly referred to as “garden homes”, where 8-10 senior friends choose to live together in one large residence that can cater to all of their needs.


The future of housing will influence developers to prepare for co-living between Millennials and the independent-but-connected neighborhood.  Desirability of sustainable communities seems to be a driver for all generations as well as acceptance of in-home technology.


A preview of KB’s projeKt home was streamed at HIVE, as the physical model home was being built at the Convention Center for Greenbuild.  This home is a collaboration between KB, KTGY, and many emerging home technology firms to envision the new home of the future.  Some elements of universal design were present in the kitchen and baths indicating that aging-in-place would be possible.  One underestimated factor in the connectedness of technology in the home is that it will allow the elderly to remain there.  With automation in window coverings, thermostats, irrigation, and home security systems many laborious activities become easy to control from your devices.  This allows the aging to be in control and retain independence without being overburdened with running the home.  And, no surprise, Millennials love tech, too.

Photography by KB Home

Don’t miss a walk through the projeKt home and the 20 exhibitors in the Residential Pavilion at Greenbuild on October 5th and 6th.


OFFER for readers:  Use this code for a complimentary Expo Hall Pass for the International Greenbuild Conference & Expo in Los Angeles, taking place on Oct 5-7, 2016. We hope to see you there!

To register visit  

On the left-hand side, provide first/last name, zip code and email address, plus your code HOSTCITY16 then select “Start New Registration.”

Complete the personal info and demographic pages.

When you reach the Registration Packages page, select the option for “Expo Hall Pass.” (There should be a $0 balance associated) then click Continue.


Dominique Hargreaves is the Executive Director of the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles chapter. (