Connecting Communities

11th September 2019

London Living - Connecting Communities

#LONDONLIVING2019

It’s good to talk – some of you may remember this as the slogan from a popular BT advert which started, gulp, almost 30 years ago. BT introduced this campaign to bring men ‘the bill payers’ onboard with using the phone as women were the main users. How the world has changed!

However, this slogan is still fit for today, just for different reasons. Neighbourhoods are dispersing and people feel less routed to their surroundings. We may communicate more regularly now using technology but it is arguably less meaningful and this is having an impact on our mental health.

In this latest article on LondonLiving, Jessica Mueller, analyst at DTZ Investors looks at the importance of community and our need as human beings to connect.

According to a survey undertaken by ACEVO (2017), the loneliness epidemic is not something that is just affecting the elderly, 83% of 18-34 year olds in the UK report feeling lonely regularly. It is quite a difficult figure to comprehend and of course, the results are subjective. However, it shows that there is something lacking in many of the millennials’ lives. Fortunately, loneliness and mental health are becoming more regular and easier conversations between friends and family. Charities and social media have been promoting discussion and now the focus is moving towards employees and trying to encourage better relationships between colleagues.

As I’ve mentioned previously in the Together Alone article, London can be a particularly lonely place for people in every age group and finding the solution to this is difficult. Generation Rent / younger generations are used to having many different supportive communities around them whilst growing up whether that is through family, teachers, friends, sports or music clubs and even doctors and dentists… what you probably remember as your neighbourhood. There is a genuine sense of care from these people who work or interact with teenagers and children. Those that attend university have an easing into the ‘real’ world but heading into work or moving out of home can be a challenging period for anyone. Once you are in a city there is very little community feel which can lead people to feeling lonely or unsettled.

Looking back a few decades, neighbourhoods were built from people sharing and taking care of each other, by offering a helping hand or giving advice on their specialist subject. Opportunities grew from these neighbourhoods and businesses formed, the larger your neighbourhood was, the greater chance you had in finding a job/opportunity. Most people in these communities had a sense of purpose and therefore felt more fulfilled. Fast forward to now and technology has grown our neighbourhoods to a global scale, by allowing us to contact someone instantly through messaging, calls, video calls and social media. Technology has given us the opportunity to stay in touch with family and friends through Whatsapp groups and Shared Photo Libraries and whilst this is fantastic in many lives, it has also replaced the physical presence which has consequences for mental health.

A more supportive community throughout each individual’s life and not just through school, could save the economy £32bn a year (according to the Eden Project, Communities in 2017) by reducing demand on health and police services but also by increasing people’s productivity. Work colleagues and the workplace are an important part of an individual’s life, considering the average person spends over 50% of their waking hours with colleagues. Employers should be creating environments where colleagues are able to relax into their work environment whether that is through hosting events or having areas designed for relaxed conversations. Friends are your chosen family, having a full circle of support throughout your life from friends, family and work, surely is the best way to avoid this loneliness?

Jessica Mueller

Analyst


LondonLiving is a weekly thought piece looking at different aspects of life in the capital; from the logistics of deliveries, the plight of loneliness, through to how generation rent is shaping its future.

Subscribe to LondonLiving here

Generation Rent

4th September 2019

London Living - Generation Rent

#LONDONLIVING2019

It takes the average single first-time buyer 16 years to save for their deposit in London. Small wander then that Generation Rent are looking at alternative life paths. But as Jessica Mueller, analyst at DTZ Investors argues, they are not unhappy about this fact as some have stated – indeed, it would seem that as one door closes, literally in this case, another one opens.

The Oxford Living Definition of Generation Rent is: “A generation of young adults who, because of high house prices, live in rented accommodation and are regarded as having little chance of becoming homeowners.” In our view, this definition is somewhat simplistic and paints an incomplete and negative picture of an excluded generation. For today’s young people, who are happy to share rather than own and want convenience over stability, renting is a positive choice and not just a financial inevitability.

Millennials have been the focus of conversation for many years now as they were set to become the largest population cohort and have the largest disposable income, however a study from Bloomberg of UN data has just found that Gen Z (Millennial successors) will account for 32% of global population by the end of 2019. Millennials are just behind at 31.5%, although their spending power will still be far greater than Gen Z. Gen Z is classified as anyone born from 2001 onwards or until the next meaningful cohort develops.

Generation Rent to us is a mixture of Millennials and Generation Z, it includes anyone that has grown up in a digitally connected and consumer driven society. The two cohorts have their individual characteristics but still share many similarities. They have always known Amazon, which started as an online bookstore, 25 years ago. Today, the company sells thousands of products for the same or next day delivery.  With 63% of 16-24s and 52% of 25-34s having access to its premium service, it would seem that most of Generation Rent wouldn’t be able to live without it. Whether it be music, films, food or a rental car, Gen R expect instant access to whatever they need, online.

This digitally connected society has driven the demand for non-commitment contracts and both memberships and contracts are becoming short-term. Netflix and Monzo are prime examples, you can cancel and reopen your account with no extra charge. These possibilities are engrained into the values of Generation Rent, which is why the idea that Generation Rent is desperately but unsuccessfully trying to enter the property market doesn’t ring true. Owning a home can bring responsibilities and inertia.

Renting on the other hand gives greater choice and flexibility on location and price, which is much more appealing to someone who is moving into a new city and trying to find a career they are passionate about. Renting does come with its difficulties, there are high deposits, inflexible contracts and, as mentioned previously, a lack of supply for good quality but affordable flats. It is ironic that the rental market has not yet adapted to the requirements of Generation Rent, however new entrants to the market, particularly in the Co-Living sector are beginning to bridge the gap.

Jessica Mueller

Analyst


LondonLiving is a weekly thought piece looking at different aspects of life in the capital; from the logistics of deliveries, the plight of loneliness, through to how generation rent is shaping its future.

Subscribe to LondonLiving here