The other day I received my copy of “The Way It Is” published by the Powers That Be (hereinafter referred to as “THEY”). It is good to know that someone out there is always willing to let us know the way it is. In this particular issue, THEY said that the new generation of workers, or Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers or just generally those new to the workforce with buying power, want to live, work, play and shop all in the same spot while riding a bicycle or driving a hybrid vehicle. And we all know that THEY must be right in this generational summation since we know that all Baby Boomers went to Vietnam, danced at Woodstock and still trip on acid. Our 3 -5 bedroom suburban houses and condo’s are all patchouli scented with Levon Helm constantly singing in the background….
What? WHAT? Ho there! I’m a boomer and I didn’t go to Nam, Woodstock; never took acid, don’t like patchouli and the only Levon Helm song I like is “Up On Cripple Creek” – must have been a bad dream!!!
And yet, the things I said above about the wants and needs of this new generation of buyers; you know, about how they ALL want to live, work, play and shop in one spot with their hybrids parked nearby – this kind of stuff is frequently touted by developers, city planners and architects. I’m not saying some people don’t want that. But to define an entire generation as wanting that?
The thing is, land use patterns really do change and in definable patterns and for specific reasons, be they noble or ignoble. But I suspect these changes have to do with a world of reasons that are NOT defined by youthful generations recently vested with buying power, but more to do with things like politics, transportation projects, estate taxes, unemployment, abundance or scarcity of natural resources, population statistics, etc. I suspect that those with new buying power simply buy what is available for them to buy. And I suspect that those in the business of developing and selling these available things are simply good marketers and have to put a spin on what they are selling in order to give it sex appeal, including inventing a new super sexy generation that is so cool, environmentally aware and urban and practical that it can eat, sleep, party and collectively use less gasoline all in one spot; aka cramming retail, residential, office space and a few walking paths onto as small a footprint as possible. But hey, truth doesn't sell.
So, this particular blog is not a statement about property rights. It is not a condemnation of city planners and developers. And it is not meant as an insult to the great Levon Helm. The point is, spin is not necessarily the way it is.