Well. It’s Friday. It’s really, really hot out. I’m really, really tired, and most of the internet is just buzzing about how the [possible] discovery of the Higgs boson was announced in comic sans, which almost makes me want to use comic sans in the hopes that somehow it would make what I have to say way more important.
Anyway- I went poking around for some good news today, and lo and behold, found something that actually did the trick, in a sort of backwards way. I will start off by saying this: I have a deep loathing for the concept of the McMansion. As a kid, I spent 90% of my time outdoors, and frequently used to (literally) cry when I saw tiny houses (which I thought were totally adorable – hey, I was probably around six years old) being bulldozed in order to a set of cookie-cutter monstrosities with approximately 4 square feet of yard space left (that’s adding up everything surrounding the entire building, so perhaps 6 inches on a side?) Sure, I get it that families want space to live in, and that you have a right to build what you want on your property. But, that doesn’t mean I have to like it, and that doesn’t mean I don’t consider it wasteful – and somewhat bizarre, since personally I’m a fan of green space – to want to live in a McMansion development.
Well, it seems I wasn’t the only one. Turns out that kids these days (that’s us, if you’re a Gen X, Gen Y, or Millennial) aren’t after what our parents were. Instead of prioritizing big houses, there is a greater demand for smaller homes and townhouse-style living, since many younger folks buying today value walkable communities, shorter commuters, and car-free living. Less than half of Americans polled recently said they prefer larger, traditional suburban homes – only 43% to be specific. That’s a far cry from the housing boom days, when suburban sprawl pushed onward amid a seemingly endless demand for exactly those large, suburban homes that article is taking about. Interestingly enough, the ones who have noticed this shift in demand aren’t policy makers, but consultants, contractors, and those in the housing and construction business themselves.
So maybe smart growth isn’t a trend, after all, but a fundamental shift in the way we live? Let’s hope. That could mean a lot of good things for the way we structure our communities and use our energy and water resources in the future.