When we asked Hampton Roads millennials to step up to share their perspectives on the 757 region, we were rewarded with an optimistic vision for our future.
You told us that you think city leaders should invest more in the arts, locally owned businesses and bike paths. You wrote about the innovation opportunities that come along with sea level rise, increased collaboration with local universities and how we can diversify our economy through tech jobs and entrepreneurship. You believe in regionalism.
These are just some of that insights that followed Global Shapers Norfolk’s call here on AltDaily, asking local millennials to take over our Instagram account for a day to share what you love and don’t love about Hampton Roads. The commentary was inspiring, and we wanted to make sure that your voices are heard.
The release of our “#WeAre757Millennials” report is Global Shapers Norfolk’s way of thanking millennials who participated, and also, it’s a document we hope city leaders will pay attention to when shaping our future. To download the report, visit the Global Shapers Norfolk website.
“The insights shared in our report provide a starting point for understanding the nuanced mindset of millennials in Hampton Roads. We encourage policymakers to harness these insights to build real, lasting engagement with the young adult community,” Global Shapers Norfolk Hub Project Lead Aazia Mickens-Dessaso wrote.
The Final Report outlines the posts and key insights from local millennials who participated in the social media campaign. Below is a brief guide to the report:
Millennials in our campaign highlighted ideas for advancing economic development, as well as areas of future focus for economic policy to promote retention of millennials and a more sustainable, broad-based economy for all.
Millennials highlighted the benefits of a regional approach to the branding and marketing of the best of our collective community, as well as to transportation, particularly highlighting the promise of a shared regional personality, public relations campaign supporting our coastal assets, and Light Rail.
From sea-level rise to water quality, millennials raised concern with our community’s collective approach to sustainability, which connects to other millennials’ ideas of advancing coastal resources as regional treasures and assets.
Investing in the Arts
Culture was raised by a number of millennials as a significant draw to the region and retention point for millennials and their families. Millennials encouraged further investment in the arts and culture, as well as youth-driven efforts to shape those investments in the years to come.
Shaping the Future: Ideas from Other Cities
Millennials shared ideas from other communities that may resonate here in Hampton Roads, including adaptive architecture and micro-marketplaces.
What Millennials Love about Hampton Roads
While many millennials posted about ways to improve our region, the campaign also highlighted why millennials love Hampton Roads. These posts outline why Hampton Roads is attractive to millennials, and what they value.
The Local Culture
Millennials in our campaign highlighted the local businesses, craft breweries and restaurants, and the arts that make the region unique:
- More support and encouragement of locally owned restaurants and businesses
- Continued investment in the arts districts and locally owned galleries
Quality of Life
Millennials posted about valuing neighborhoods, like West Ghent and Chelsea, where you can live and walk to local shops and restaurants, and urban areas like Downtown Norfolk and Town Center where you can work, live, and play. They also highlighted the relatively low cost of living in our region, and access to great schools in Virginia Beach.
- Promote neighborhoods that are attractive to millennials, where you can work, live and play.
- Make our region the most bike friendly by investing in the Elizabeth River Trail and plans to expand opportunities for safe biking.
The campaign shared much among its millennial commentators, but perhaps one of the strongest threads was the interconnection of our community’s institutions of higher education (IHEs) as a draw to the region and a sustainer. Many millennials shared their proud alumni/us connections to one of the 13 IHEs calling our region home.
- More synergy between local cities and universities to help solve government problems and attract millennials to the area
- Increase collaboration with local city council members and university presidents
The Beach, Waterfront Living & Nature
Millennials posted about the benefits of living on the water, including running on the beach, catching a cruise ship from Downtown Norfolk, joining the community sailing club at Sail Nauticus, and doing yoga along the waterfront.
- Create a grassroots effort to promote our region’s natural beauty to attract millennials to live here. Global Shapers Norfolk is dedicated to helping this cause by continuing #WeAre757Millennials.
Millennials posted about valuing the rich diversity of culture and people in the Hampton Roads region, and the commitment citizens have to improving our community.
- Promote our diversity and use more active, digital storytelling to create awareness about what makes the region unique.
Why Global Shapers Norfolk Created #WeAre757Millennials:
Millennials make up the the largest living generation today and, by 2020, will form 50 percent of the global workforce and of most electorates. But across the board, millennials are punching below their weight: they are less likely to vote and have formal, recognized roles in public processes. Social networks are clearly a powerful tool for civic engagement, with approximately 90 percent of young adults, ages 18 to 29, actively using social media.
Global Shapers Norfolk’s inaugural local impact project, #WeAre757Millennials, responds to this size-presence disparity by creating an approachable bridge to activate millennials to engage on issues important to them, while elevating these perspectives to local and global decision makers.
Global Shapers Norfolk will continue its #WeAre757Millennials campaign as a platform for millennials to drive creative, positive change in Hampton Roads. We look forward to keeping you posted on our next steps!