Today’s youth would rather shop and dine in revitalized historic areas, not sterile malls

According to a new survey Millennials and Historic Preservation: A Deep Dive Into Attitudes and Values, nearly all (97 percent) of the nation’s largest and most diverse generation appreciate the value of historic preservation. Commissioned by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the survey reveals the salient role preservation plays in the millennial narrative and the development of communities courting this generation.

The survey finds millennials tend to value a mix of old and new buildings where they live, dine, shop and travel. A few key highlights include:

  • One-in-three (36 percent) are preservation fans and have taken action in support of the cause.
  • One-in-two millennials view historic preservation as important through the lens of engaging in authentic experiences (52 percent), preserving a sense of community (52 percent) and creatively re-using structures (51 percent).
  • More than half of millennials (54 percent) are interested in historic preservation as a means to save the places that define us as Americans.
  • Fifty-three percent of millennials view historic preservation as a way to protect the unique, cultural wealth and diversity of communities.
  • Nearly one-in-two (44 percent) prefer living in a neighborhood with historic character.
  • When sightseeing, three-in-four (71 percent) millennials enjoy exploring the history of an area.
  • Two-thirds (67 percent) are interested in bunking at historic hotels.

The report reflects what we’ve seen in cities from Los Angeles to Buffalo to Houston – that millennials prefer to live, work and play in neighborhoods with historic buildings,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The revitalization of many urban communities is being driven in large part by the influx of young people seeking authentic experiences and places with character that are found in historic neighborhoods.

Feature photo is The Wedge; a hugely popular brewery and arts center in a history factory in Asheville, North Carolina‘s revitalized industrial area called the River Arts District (photo by Storm Cunningham, June 2017).

See overview of report’s findings.

See full report (PDF).

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