THE WALKABILITY DIVIDEND
Any wellbeing specialist knows that walking is good for mental and physical health, and a quasi-limitless source of wellbeing. What is less known is this: the more walkable a city becomes, the greater the benefits to the local economy.
In the US, cities with high ‘walk scores’ tend to experience higher home values because they attract younger populations and create more jobs. According to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, 63 per cent of Millennials and 42 per cent of Boomers want to live in a place where they don’t need a car. The National Association of Realtors comes to a similar conclusion: 62 per cent of Millennials prefer to live in a walkable community where a car is optional.
“Cities with high ‘walk scores’ tend to experience higher home values because they attract younger populations and create more jobs”
There is also evidence that walkability is good for the local economy. All other things being equal, people spend more money in walkable cities (and in people-oriented streets – those that are safe to cross and filled with amenities people need) than in less walkable ones.
The take-away for business: pick a location that is as walkable as it can possibly be. Not only will this reduce air pollution, but your business will benefit from the extra income generated and spent in walkable cities and places.
Thierry Malleret, Managing partner Well Intelligence
ALONE IS NOT ALWAYS LONELY
Loneliness has become a societal epidemic, but it shouldn’t be confused with the desire for ‘me time’.
Evidence on the first point: research by The Economist and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 9% of adults in Japan, 22% in the US and 23% in the UK always or often feel lonely, lack companionship or feel left out or isolated. Awareness that loneliness is bad for your health is growing. A study by Utah’s Brigham Young University following 3.4 million participants over seven years found that those classed as lonely had a 26% higher risk of dying; and those living alone a 32% higher chance. In January this year, the UK Government appointed a Minister for Loneliness to tackle an issue thought to affect 9m people, young and old.
But here’s a paradox. In ABTA’s latest holiday habits report, a stand out stat is the number of people opting to travel alone – up by 33% since 2011. This isn’t about having nobody to travel with, but of conscious choice for lone travel. Wanting time for yourself has become a consumer pursuit.
“Wanting time for yourself has become a consumer pursuit”
There are several takeaways for the travel and hospitality sectors: 1) many people travelling alone aren’t seeking solitude. Often they still seek a sense of community which you need to provide; 2) removing single supplements and offering solo traveller friendly rates will help you tap into this market; 3) private member clubs and co-working spaces illustrate the appetite for local hubs where individuals can connect. The best offers can counter loneliness and tap into the growing market for desirable time alone.
Anni Hood, Managing partner Well Intelligence
THE REAL IMPERATIVE FOR BUSINESS
The changing culture of business doesn’t get its fair share of airtime. Largely negative media rhetoric concerning macro factors such as the economy, environment, society, technology and geopolitics, is a continual distraction from the more humble (less newsworthy) matters of values, ethics and day-to-day business.
The Business Case For Protecting Civic Rights is a study produced by The B Team. It examines the economic impact of respect for human rights and community space. The research seeks to strengthen the business case for action and explore how a better business environment is linked to greater civic rights and freedoms and, crucially, a happier society. Its findings are clear: “limits on important civic freedoms are linked to negative economic outcomes”.
The report highlights how many business leaders and global influencers are making the case for financial success to co-exist with positive and progressive impact on society. From a commercial perspective, authenticity is a constant in the bid for consumer appeal, whether you are promoting a product, service or experience. Plain, simple, genuine human connection is what consumers are increasingly seeking, led by the Millennials.
The resulting business imperatives are awareness, culture, leadership and a need to keep up. Gaurav Sinha describes the first step perfectly in his book Compassion Inc.: “This starts with creating a compassionate working environment where all stakeholders drive a culture that celebrates the interdependency and wellbeing of all key constituents of a corporation.”
“Plain, simple, genuine human connection is what consumers are increasingly seeking”
As long as businesses speak only to cerebral intellect and ignore the shifting awareness and relative politics of belonging over alienation, nothing will change or, those businesses will be less successful. As simple as it sounds, ‘being human’ and applying those innate and instinctive principles to business is likely to mean the difference between growth and stagnation.