Mary Katherine Bickes: Designing and Developing Student Housing for Gen Z

by Katie Sloan

Gen Z is one of the most fiscally responsible generations we’ve seen in a long time, prompting student housing companies to find creative ways of satisfying both cost and quality of life for students, especially within the off-campus luxury housing market. The following are important features to consider when designing and developing a student housing community geared towards this demographic:

Innovated tech experiences

One thing we know about Gen Z is that they are hyper-connected and have always lived on-demand. With an influx of luxury student housing options, student housing complexes need to find a way to differentiate themselves and the use of technology is a good place to start. Voice-activated integrations, including smart home devices, TVs and appliances, are easy wins for attracting Gen Z’s, who appreciate and expect the aid of technology in most aspects of their daily lives. 

Flexible Community Spaces

Amenity-rich apartments that incorporate both community gathering spaces and wellness offerings are taking the housing industry by storm. Specifically, community gathering spaces with great Wi-Fi, comfortable, easy-to-reconfigure seating and a big screen TV. These spaces should be multi-purpose, from a studying lounge to a place to host dinner with friends, and they need to be flexible enough to meet the students’ needs, including thoughtfully placed power outlets and other amenities that support living and learning. While state-of-the-art in-unit finishes are still important, developers are now investing more in common area amenities such as a co-working space or makers room. 

Hyper-convenient service 

What’s considered convenient will no longer be good enough for this generation. Due to their hyper connectivity and entrepreneurial nature, simple tasks that were once a commonality are now an annoyance. This generation is constantly finding ways to make mundane tasks easier. Brands need to be proactive and anticipate the students’ needs. From a chat robot for maintenance requests, to a solution for apartment keys, and a way to make move in painless, brands need to identify the inconveniences and eliminate them for the consumer. 

— Mary Katherine Bickes is a senior account executive at ZWO Student and Senior Marketing Agency. Working closely with some of the industry’s top global student housing brands, Mary Katherine has become a trusted expert in Gen Z.

You may also like