Let’s start with the truth: I’m part of Gen X and I can tell you that my friends and I are not all alike. I know that’s true for every generation. There are plenty of songs about how everyone is different – from Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” to a long list in between to back me up, too.

So, what does that mean when we’re planning an apartment community and want to create a home that will attract the next generation of residents?

We look for some universal trends that are likely to entice a Gen Z renter to choose one of our communities instead of another apartment. Some surveys suggest that members of the Gen Z generation are less willing to come into the office. Others say they value equity over personal enrichment. Maybe some of those things are true in greater proportion than previous generations, but people are not photocopies of each other.

First and foremost, we need to peel back the layers and get to microlevels in local communities. We can divide up markets and submarkets into cohorts of people that are likely to have common needs and then serve those needs.

I saw a survey recently that suggested the top five things the youngest group of renters are looking for in an apartment are high speed internet, outdoor amenities, coworking spaces, property technology and a package room. Well, most people value all five of those features in their community, regardless of their age.

We’re installing high speed, reliable Wi-Fi through our private internet service in all our communities, internet service that will work by the pool, in a conference room, a coworking space and in someone’s apartment. The internet service connects with the rest of our property technology, which also includes package management. But we go beyond these amenities. The research we’ve read about Gen Z is that socialization within their community is extremely important, so we make sure to provide programming to make it easier for our residents to get to know each other.

We know that younger people value location over size, so we make sure to create communities with plenty of selection. We look at the apartments we own and think about which ones may appeal more to a Gen Z renter than others, then program and market them accordingly. We think reflection of society is really important, too, so we also do our best to ensure that our workforce reflects the community where they’re located.

Each generation may have its reputation for certain traits, but communities do, too. Creating communities where residents can thrive requires looking at both the forest and the trees.