Construction and design practices are known to shift with the trends and demands of the population, requiring Landscape Design to evolve at a similar pace. As the members of the Millennial generation enter the workforce, it is essential for the role of landscape architects and urban planners to change in order to accommodate these trends. The goal is to create spaces that excite, inspire, and elevate the urban experience for this new generation. Not only do young adults want to live and work close to public transportation, they also want greater access to outdoor spaces with the added benefits of increased programming such as amenity spaces used for entertainment, dining, relaxing, and recreation.
Many millennials are rejecting the idea of the personal automobile as the only mode of transportation. In turn, they are looking for employment and residential options that offer easy access to public transport and bikeways. This shift increases the value of public space, as both a transit corridor and civic amenity. Landscape architects and urban planners are tasked with ensuring these spaces are designed (or redesigned) to support safe, convenient access to public amenities for people of all ages and abilities. Design elements that are used to respond to this need could include well-defined circulation patterns, accessible pathways, adequate lighting, and seating and gathering areas.
Copley Wolff Design Group (CWDG) has found in many corporate and housing projects, that the landscape architect has taken on the role of “exterior designer” when it comes to creating outdoor gathering and living space – laying out multiple seating areas; selecting furnishing, fabrics and lighting; and designing amenity spaces that contain fire features, entertainment lounges, and outdoor kitchens. In addition, landscape designers are incorporating digital design with the integration of outdoor media walls, charging stations, and innovative lighting design.
With healthy living on the rise and the desire for entertainment, many millennials are drawn to open green spaces that can be used for recreation such as yoga and exercise classes, Frisbee, or tossing a ball around. In addition, games such as Cornhole, Bocce Ball, and Ping-Pong are now frequently seen in the public realm and are embraced by members of the millennial generation.
CWDG has a long history of conceiving, designing, and executing public spaces in the City of Boston. The past few years have seen a significant increase in the number of exciting projects both in the City and throughout the region. Many of these spaces are properties that have been overlooked for development in the past due to constraints, but are now leading to compelling designs that are more innovative, and exciting – exactly what Millennials are looking for.
A number of Copley Wolff Design Group’s projects encompass the traits that appeal to the millennial generation.
Assembly Row in Somerville is a new transit-oriented development that integrates commercial, residential, and recreational amenities – in conjunction with a new MBTA Orange Line Station.
Harbor Way, in Boston’s Seaport, is a 70-foot-wide pedestrian corridor located between the 101 and 121 Seaport Boulevard office towers. It is an important connective component within the area’s new open space system, reinforcing the value of the pedestrian experience within the urban environment. This represents the shift in thinking for urban development, demonstrating the value of alternative transit over car-centric design.
Zinc in Cambridge and The Kensington in Boston both have roof terraces that integrate outdoor furnishing, fire features, kitchen stations/grilling areas, and innovative pergola designs. The landscape design distinguishes the projects from other residential developments and has served as both an amenity and marketing tool.
Ink Block in Boston has an outdoor amenity roof terrace with a large open lawn used for exercise classes and Cornhole; an outdoor grilling/dining area; and an entertainment lounge with a flat screen television.
CWDG supports the trends and desires of members of the millennial generation through the use of outdoor space, programming, and integration of the technology this generation uses on a daily basis. CWDG has always created memorable and enjoyable spaces, and will continue to focus on the newest generation as they become a larger part of the current population.