This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

June 12, 2001

Let's Get Together

While people have the opportunity to focus on their families--working, sleeping, eating, and socializing in their homes, they will also become more sensitive to a basic need. People need people. They need to be around other people, not always to communicate intimately, but just to feel the presence of others of the species.

Shopping malls have become social centers. This trend will continue, and intensify, with more examples like Minneapolis' Mall of America, where shopping seems almost secondary to the entertainment offerings of the facility. Carousel Center is being expanded in Syracuse, with 300,000 - 500,000 more square feet than Mall of America. These facilities become destinations for tourists and local families seeking entertainment and diversion.

People will seek opportunities to meet others face-to-face. They'll gather at meetings and conventions, sporting events, gymnasiums, community colleges, and cultural activities. Being with others will be as important as the event or occasion that serves as a catalyst to bring them together. Bookstores have become meeting places and more people are gathering at churches, synagogues, and mosques.

As people seek a better life balance-between work and family and personal interests, spending time with others will become more important. More people will work from home, making purchases over the internet, and participating in distance-learning courses. Hours are spent in front of the computer screen, interacting with faceless far away friends or with no one at all. This continuous solitary existence will drive many people to seek places to congregate with others.

The desire for human contact will also influence neighborhood design. New, planned communities will concentrate on arrangements to encourage residents to visit with each other, similar to the seemingly outdated concept of talking over the back fence. A return to central cities will include activities and events to bring people out of their homes. Local and area residents will be encouraged to participate in ethic festivals, street fairs, concerts, and similar gatherings.

We'll see more neighborhood activity, ranging from picnics to clean-up parties, to building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Volunteerism will increase as people seek more ways to connect with others.

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