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Rabbit Holes 🕳️ #46
From sustainable community neighborhoods for friends, to "and" fatigue and the need for child-ful cities
A slightly shorter Rabbit Holes as I am currently traveling for work. If you are in Sydney and want to meet up for a coffee or beer, please reach out via LinkedIn! Would love to meet some subscribers! 😉
Also, Katharina Michalski from Foresight Folk interviewed me a few weeks ago about my newsletter, my work at TrendWatching, and my research process: read the interview here!
THIS WEEK → 🧑🤝🧑 Off-Grid Friend Communities 🤷♂️ “And” Fatigue 👶 Childful Cities
Rabbit Holes 🕳️
As always, here are three perspective-shifting ideas that I’ve come across lately, plus some fun extras. Enjoy!
#1 🧑🤝🧑 Off-Grid Friend Communities
“A group of friends took more than ten years and £10 million to build an eco-village where they can grow older together. Now their Essex community — which they claim is the first in Britain to combat both climate change and loneliness in later life — has won the top prize for green homes. […]
Here, Anne, 70, and her husband, Andrew, 71, also an architect, live next to their friends in 23 Passivhaus homes they have created together. Earthen-coloured terraced houses snake up a lush hillside, overlooking the mill pond where residents might have a morning swim before coffee at the historic mill that is their communal hub. […]
It is an adventure with an age solution built in. Under the vaulted beams of the grade II listed mill’s shared living space they gather for wine tastings, French conversation groups or Wimbledon on the big screen. “It generates things in your life that you would struggle to self-generate. I’ve done things that I haven’t done before because somebody [in the group] suggested it,” says Lesley Scordellis, a retired fundraiser. “I don’t remotely feel 71. That’s one of the nice things about living here.”
Besides cooking together once or twice a week (“It’s always really good food,” Scordellis says, laughing. “Too good”), the Millers share cars, ebikes, two guest suites for visiting family and a “library of things”. Every eighth day they join forces for gardening and maintenance. “We had our grandchildren here, so we were all out there, pulling up weeds and getting muddy,” Anne says. It also keeps service charges as low as £90 a month.
“We have to get out of the notion of a person’s own home being their castle and everybody living independently. That works sometimes, but we should be much more open to other ways of living.””
#2 🤷♂️ “And” Fatigue
“Digital abundance creates a new problem.
Most of our lives are filled with “or” decisions. You can have this or that. You can save money for the big party or you can go out for lunch. You can have exactly one thing for dessert–cake or fruit.
But the war for our attention has given us more than a million things to watch on YouTube, another million songs to listen to on Qobuz [or Spotify], and unlimited bingeing (which didn’t even use to be a word) on dozens of streaming channels.
No or. Simply and.
This means that choices have fewer consequences. It means that time counts for less, it simply fades away. And it turns the sharp relief of choice into the borderless fatigue of ‘whatever’.
Even when it’s possible to avoid a choice, it may make sense to make one.”
#3 👶 Childful Cities
“The presence of children in a neighbourhood shapes the public and private provision of local facilities. Enrico Moretti, professor of economics specialising in urban economics at the University of California, Berkeley, notes the “demand for improvement in school quality is positively correlated with the number of families with children in an area, while the demand for entertainment — restaurants, pubs, and museums — is negatively correlated with the local number of families with children”.
Yet children’s presence in the city may benefit all adults, not just parents. Gil Penalosa, an urbanist, describes children as an “indicator species” — designing cities to work for children means they work for everyone else too. Alexandra Lange, author of The Design of Childhood, expands on this point, arguing that if you design cities to be safe for adults, they would be “typically designed for abled young men — who can cross the street quickly . . . who don’t need to rest after 10 blocks.
“But that’s not most people. Changing your lens . . . to that of a three-year-old, a 10-year-old, a 16-year-old — not to mention an 80-year-old — radically expands what designing a good city means and allows a more diverse population to live, work and play there.”
Jerome Frost, UK, India, Middle East and Africa chair at engineering company Arup, agrees. Children encourage the design of an urban environment that is “safe, supporting walkers”, he says. “If you move to the suburbs, you’re travelling by car to the park, or driving from one enclosed environment to another.” Children can also spur innovation. “Kids have an irrationality about them,” Frost says, adding that they “are more accepting of change”. […]
Having children means people start paying attention and start contributing to their neighbourhood, says Lange. “These are people who fight for protected bike lanes, run for the school board, plan block parties.” It also has an impact on local services. “An increasing number of young Londoners being forced to leave the city by the inaccessibility of home ownership will also impact hiring conditions and the state of public services,” says Tabbush at the Centre for London. The capital has the highest vacancy rate(opens a new window) for NHS workers anywhere in the UK, he adds, which is largely driven by a lack of nurses.”
📕 The Dawn of a Mindful Universe: A Manifesto for Humanity's Future by Marcelo Geiser
👀 With TikTok and Lawsuits, Gen Z Takes on Climate Change by David Gelles
😮 Mapping where the earth will become inhabitable by Berliner Morgenpost
🚿 Shower Thoughts
That’s it for this week!
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