We could be on the cusp of the renaissance of local centres and the neighbourhood model as Covillenniels embrace physical social withdrawal.
“Given their relatively high level of autonomy and growing lack of trust in institutions or leaders, an emphasis on the private domain and digital channels for connection could continue to be favoured over human contact,” said Kate.
The agile and remote working environment enforced during COVID-19 quarantine period is also favoured by the self-reliant Covillenniel Generation, answering their desire for increased mastery over their lives and lifestyles. The new working environment enables optimised working hours and flexible routines, which could enhance the nation’s productivity across the service sector by 5% per annum. This would add around $100 billion annually to GDP and in turn support a much-needed boost to average weekly earnings of between 2.5 to 3%.
Working locally and neighbourhood-oriented lifestyles would see an increase in mixed use developments, the kind of which are already boosting revenue for suburban retail property in inner city Sydney and Melbourne by 3-4% per annum. Many of these properties have been independently-owned restaurants, cafes and food and grocery retailing – fundamental community elements.
The neighbourhood model will privilege walkability and urban active transport whilst reducing the need for road infrastructure. Investment will be channelled into local streets and a fine mesh of public transport options that facilitate local trips.
A Covillenniel ‘small pack’ rather than a ‘large herd’ mentality would also promote more granular public open space models. A series of smaller and more intimate green spaces and community places would cater for small group gatherings.
Alternatively, Australia’s next generation could do what most generations that have preceded them have done – kick back on trends rather than amplify current COVID-19 enforced work and lifestyle patterns. The most resilient and independent generation in history could crave the reassurance and inspiration of human contact. In this scenario density in cities would not be controversial, as they become the essential lifeblood of new highly productive precincts.