KTGY Principal David Senden Designing for Millennials: It’s Complicated

March 9, 2015

IRVINE, CALIF. – According to David Senden, principal with award-winning national architecture and planning firm KTGY Group, Inc., it’s getting increasingly difficult to lump all Millennials into one group. “They’re a diverse lot. Branders and marketers have been trying to throw a rope around this group for years, but there are 85 million of them; and like America, it’s a melting pot of cultures, desires, economic backgrounds, not to mention ages.”

Senden says that if you lump Millennials or Gen Y into one big group, you do so with some risk. “The leading edge of this generation is having children. The trailing edge is entering high school. It makes sense to break this group into more pieces.  Simply saying we’re designing for Gen Y misses the nuances that make up the largest generation in US history.”

For several years residential developments that have had Millennials as their target actually were targeting only one group within the Millennial generation, Senden says. “They were targeting what we call ‘urban professionals;’ college graduates that were looking for an urban lifestyle and had some disposable income to afford high rents and still eat at restaurants and socialize in bars and coffee shops.”

However, over the last ten years, some of those partying fresh graduates have gotten married, had kids and settled down.  Senden asks, “Whose designing for them? And, what about the group who would rather live in the suburbs in which they grew up?  Research shows there are a lot of them.”

Senden also asks, “What about the Millennial children who will live with their parents well into adulthood because of economics or cultural preference? If you look closely, Gen Y consists of more than just partying kids who want a resort environment or nightclubbing lifestyle.”

There is little talk about Millennials that live with their parents by choice. Many people assume that if a grown child lives with parents after college that there has been some sort of a failure. “There is a growing segment of the population for which that is simply not true,” Senden says. “In fact, in many parts of the world, ‘normal’ is multiple generations living under one roof. That ‘normal’ has come to the US. It is time to realize that multi-generational housing is a choice and housing designed to meet the needs of Gen Yers and their parents living together is a niche market that is often ignored, but growing.”

According to Senden, these families need more bedrooms, larger living spaces and ways to create privacy within the home. Houses that feature multiple bedroom suites that can be self-contained sanctuaries within the home are optimal. “It’s important to provide dining rooms and kitchens that can accommodate larger gatherings,” Senden notes.

Always with an eye to making great places and beautiful buildings, Senden’s design approach is collaborative with emphasis placed on context, innovation, and special attention to each client’s goals, budget, and schedule. As a principal, he leads a talented team of designers skilled in large scale residential and mixed-use projects. In addition to his involvement in a series of award winning projects, Senden is a regular speaker at industry events, as well as a critic at numerous colleges and universities. He is a speaker on March 10, 2015, at the Crittenden Multifamily Conference in Fort Worth, TX.

About KTGY Architecture + Planning

Celebrating more than 23 years, KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture and Planning, is a national award-winning firm providing comprehensive planning and award-winning architectural design services for residential communities, retail, hospitality, mixed-use and related specialty developments. KTGY delivers innovative solutions that reflect clear understanding of development, market and consumer trends, and financial performance. KTGY serves clients worldwide from offices in Denver, Irvine, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pune and Tysons. See www.KTGY.com.