At least one of multifamily’s hottest design trends, aimed at Millennial-generation appeal as a cohort of 80 million people plows into household-formation mode, springs from a counterintuitive belief.

Multifamily Executive’s Jane M. Wolkowicz captures the quintessence of this assumption in her “Y Design” kaleidoscopic analysis of stand-out projects intended to attract Millennial residents. She quotes architect KTGY’s Nathan Sciarra, project manager of the Broomfield, Colo.–based Arista Uptown property, who says, “Smaller square footage and bedrooms encourage people to spend less time inside and get outside.”

What we conclude from this trend is that, inside the box, home looks, acts, and works differently than it may have done once upon a time. It’s an important assumption, and around it, an entire belief system—­impacting design, amenitization, site management, featuring, land strategy, and pricing—pours out of a singular conviction that people want their apartment as they’d want a cell in a hive, to shut the lights and close out the noise.

Outside the box, one’s address confers status and stature as appropriately edgy, connected, conveniently situated, and flexible. Space in the home is minimal, and this serves multiple purposes. It necessitates further minimalism, less clutter, material possessions all well-designed in form and function, less waking time in the unit, easier cleaning and maintenance, etcetera.

At least one of affordable housing’s newest trends turns “old school” on its ear, literally. Sister magazine Affordable Housing Finance’s Donna Kimura does a guest turn in these pages to shed light on one of preservation and adaptive reuse’s most popular incarnations in the low-income housing landscape: turning public schools into affordable housing. Kimura writes about the karmic halo effect of converting historic schools into living spaces and the construction challenges such conversions precipitate.

In the end, old schools become affordable housing with increasing frequency in an environment that’s inimical to virtually all new housing for one reason—because they can. Kimura writes: “There’s a practical reason many of the conversions take place—developers are able to tap into key funding programs aimed at producing affordable housing, most notably low-income housing tax credits.”

At least one of the multifamily sector’s most important business trends, too, is counterintuitive. It’s that organizations with little to no business in the community are buying their way in via diversification strategies. They know that multifamily is a lumpy game, with a risk–reward rules set of its very own. Yet, they come and they come and they come.

MFE senior editor Les Shaver focuses a challenging lens on “The Outsiders”, writing that “when ‘outside’ developers even joke about moving into the sector, established multifamily builders grow wary.”

All this by way of saying MFE’s value to you derives at least in part from its ability to be contrarian, to take conventional wisdom and turn it inside out and backward.

So, it’s with gratitude, excitement, and heightened expectations that we announce that Jerry Ascierto has stepped up to become the editor-in-chief of our publisher Hanley Wood’s Multifamily Group, effective immediately. In this role, Jerry will provide content leadership for ­Multifamily Executive, Affordable Housing Finance, and Apartment Finance Today as well as for our websites, and, and the magazines’ in-person events.

Best of all, Jerry knows that when a trend is counterintuitive, it’s an opportunity to challenge, to report, to converse, to enlighten, and to lead.