I have recently had a sense that there is a drastic shift in lifestyle/social structure looming. This story on M&G gives serious pause for thought.
Now whilst the gist revolves around property prices in US suburbia, the parallels and social implications for South African culture are astounding.It was here, almost 60 years ago, that modern American suburbia was born. Work began on the town in 1947 and Long Island potato fields were soon covered with a radical new form of housing: single, similar, purpose-built houses designed for car owners and aimed at families. At the time it was a shock. Social scientists scoffed at Levittown. But within decades the suburban experiment had come to define United States life and what began in Levittown now covers the country in urban sprawl, strip malls and a way of life revolving around the car.
Now there are fears it is coming to an end. For the past five years, the US has been gripped by a housing price bubble. It has funded a huge expansion of suburbia as Americans poured their wealth into their homes. Yet many think that bubble may be about to burst. That would send shock waves through the US economy and into the rest of the world. Nor is that the only threat. The rising price of oil is squeezing suburbanites. It threatens a way of life where pavements are rare and everyone moves by car.
"We have invested all our wealth in a living arrangement with no future," said James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, which postulates the end of suburbia. "In building suburbia we embarked on the greatest misallocation of wealth in the history of the world."