America’s Broken Housing Market: Gen Z Loneliness Problem

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Gen Z generations are increasingly struggling with loneliness and social isolation, and many blame social media. A growing body of studies suggests that disconnected areas and low community involvement may also be to blame, though. According to experts, the built environment significantly affects social interaction, with certain communities being better suited to fostering bonds than others. Leading researcher on loneliness Julianne Holt-Lunstad asserts that in order to combat loneliness, the “larger system of how our communities are designed” must be taken into account.

Insufficient affordability Driving Young People’s Loneliness

Gen Z social isolation is also a major contributor to the expensive cost of housing in many locations. Although they encourage connection and lessen loneliness, green and communal spaces are frequently more expensive and thus out of the price range of many millennials and Gen Zers. According to Jennifer Kent, a researcher at the University of Sydney who examines the connections between health and the built environment, a lack of options for cheap housing is a recipe for social isolation and loneliness.

The Benefits of Random Interactions in Fighting Loneliness

Unexpected interactions with neighbors, dog walkers, and baristas in hallways are a great opportunity to make loose relationships with individuals in our communities. Researchers have discovered that residents of a town feel more a part of it and safer when their social ties are weak. Green spaces, walkable communities, and diversified housing are all elements that foster social connectedness. Shared spaces are crucial for establishing these interactions. Building healthy communities requires making sure these spaces are welcoming, sufficient, and safe.

Creating Social Connection in Design

The built environment, according to Erin Peavey, the health and wellbeing design leader at the architecture company HKS, significantly affects social interaction. In order to establish third spaces—locations other than homes, workplaces, or schools—that promote social connection, she has developed six design concepts. Making public areas accessible, interesting, distinctive, and green is one of these tactics. To create these areas and enable incidental contacts, denser, more walkable communities are necessary. In Barcelona, Spain, efforts to make neighborhoods more accessible, green, and walking have resulted in considerable improvements in locals’ mental health.

Source: ©Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images ; Business Insider
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