Our Stories

What Does It Mean to be Genuinely Engaged In Life?


EDENS’ purpose is to enrich community through human engagement. This year, we’re setting a vibrant intention to be fully present for each other: to be engaged. Imagine a world where every interaction is rich and bursting with life—that’s our vision for our EDENS communities.

We might feel technologically connected, but loneliness is a big problem in our society. Last year, the U.S. Surgeon General issued their most comprehensive advisory to date that sparked widespread conversation about how isolated we feel in our communities. In Linda Poon’s article in Bloomberg CityLab, “City Life is Too Lonely. Urban Planning Can Help,” she writes that creating spaces where social interaction can happen is not as easy as building a new park or plaza. It takes smart design and planning to make a city that helps us reconnect with one another.

As stewards of our places, we leverage creative placemaking to bring people together. Encounters with ‘consequential strangers,’ a concept introduced by Dr. Karen L. Fingerman and journalist Melinda Blau, remind us of the power of impromptu conversation and the experiences it can spark. These unplanned “conversation collisions” in our everyday lives—at the grocery store, hair salon, coffee shop or yoga studio—produce a positive physiological response that far outlasts the dopamine rush from a “like” on Instagram; they can change the trajectory of someone’s day or for years to come.

EDENS creates places that inspire real-world connections like these. With more than 100 retail and mixed-use properties across the country, we reach 15 million human beings daily. With this in mind, we design and curate these spaces for convenience and productivity but also for discovery and participation. We foster authentic human engagement between people.

Customers who are deeply emotionally connected to a place or brand, because of the experience it provides, are much more loyal than those who are merely satisfied. Emotions are twenty-four times more persuasive than rational thinking. One is more likely to revisit a store or place that makes them feel good even if it’s not perfect in other ways. Emotional experiences associated with a physical place aren’t only good for business, they’re beneficial to our collective wellbeing.

Through our placemaking, we embrace intentional hospitality, genuine experiences and personalization that make communities feel welcome, valued and emotionally engaged over the long term. Community events, public art, cultural celebrations and playful activations are the things that spark engagement: nearly 1,000,000 additional visitors came to our places last year for the possibility of discovery or meeting someone new. Even just a smile, brief eye contact or a kind word between strangers can lead to profound interactions that might alter someone’s life for the better.

With a thoughtful gesture, we inspire people to log off and connect in person. Our sensory design elements make our spaces warm and inviting. Through our design, curation and engagement, we create joyfully unexpected moments of discovery and delight. Stories are the common thread that create this sense of belonging and unity.

To engage is the act of emotionally connecting to people and places, enriching our lives in profound ways. Will you engage with us at your local EDENS place and share your stories?