Friday, June 10, 2011
In recent weeks, several studies have shown the additional benefits of living and working in dense, walkable communities. The results of these studies are not surprising to those of us who have advocated for such development for years. But, the benefits are starting to be discussed in the mainstream. From having positive financial benefits to trusting one's neighbors more and participating in civic activities more often, studies are showing attributes of walkable, urban lifestyles other than the typical benefits of reduced pollution and gas use.
Even in Atlanta, long a car-centric city, we are seeing recent developments along this line. The Beltline continues to develop, with a new park opening this weekend. Recent announcements to develop areas of midtown with dense, walkable projects continue to come, with an announcement today for a new building by Selig and Daniel at its 12th & Midtown project. These dense, walkable projects are increasing becoming the de facto new development projects in Atlanta and throughout the country.
Could it be that we are starting to see a tipping point here?
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
The “American Dream” as we have known it for decades is dead. The stable job, the house in the suburbs, the white picket fence, the two car garage with 2.5 kids – that dream is gone, maybe never to be seen again.
A combination of the recession, the housing bust, years of continued sprawl, high gas prices, an uncertain job market and the ever-changing demographics of the United States have changed our collective priorities. The “American Dream” of the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and even ‘90s has died, replaced with a “New American Dream.”
The New American Dream centers around ideals, not material possessions. Americans have realized that happiness and personal fulfillment come not from a house in the suburbs with a certain number of cars and a dollar amount in the bank account. Instead, happiness comes from the ability to chart one’s own course – to lead lives as we wish to lead them, to do the things we wish to do and to express ourselves and our personalities as we wish.
In a way, the New American Dream is a return to the original ideals of America. The New American Dream marks a return to the individualism which shaped this country in its early years. Yet it is firmly rooted in the 21st century with its emphasis on social networking and its epicenter in vibrant, urban communities.
The American dream is dead. Long live the American dream.