What can communities do to help businesses attract the talent they need to succeed in a global economy? That’s the question that a group of planners sat down to discuss in Asheville, NC last week. The program at the Land of Sky Council of Governments was sparked by a 2014 poll conducted by Harris Interactive for APA of Millennials (ages 21 – 34), Gen Xers (ages 35 – 49), and Active Boomers (50 – 65) in North Carolina to find out their economic perceptions and community preferences.
The survey found that nearly 70% of North Carolina millennials believe they are likely to move to another part of the state within the next five years. What would it take for them to either stay, or choose a particular city to live? According to the survey, safe streets, clean air and water, high-speed Internet, and infrastructure that supports a healthy lifestyle were all key factors in the decision. Interestingly, Active Boomers and Gen Xers also valued these community attributes.
In Asheville, the issue of the “walkability” was one that came up repeatedly. A major component for many people’s choice on where to live, the ability to walk to restaurants and towns can be a benefit to be advertised, or a challenge that must be overcome. While some work has been done in the mountain region to increase accessibility, a lack of sidewalks continues to be a common complaint.
To learn more about the discussion, check out the article on Asheville Citizen-Times.