Sunday, June 22, 2008
Is Generation X saving the "neighborhood"?
Recently, I wrote a post regarding whether Gen Xers will jump on the wagon back into dense urban cities with the Boomers and the Millennials. Futurist William Draves says that there is no saving the suburbs, which got me kind of bummed. The reason why? I associate "suburbs" with "neighborhoods" - because that's where I grew up and that's what we had.
I think a lot of Gen Xers associate "cities" with bleak, dying, crack-infested places because that's what a lot of cities had turned into when we were growing up in the 70s and 80s. I think that's why a lot of us have the same gut reaction: Why would I want to move my kids to the "city"?
Gen X writer Kathy English wrote a great article on what "neighborhood" means. She talked about what hers was like when she was growing up.
In my current neighborhood, there have been a lot of Xers who moved in with their kids in the last five years (five Gen X families - including mine - on the same street with kids under 10 years old). And now my neighborhood feels a lot more like the one I grew up in.
My kids run down the street to their friends house (actually across everyone's lawns, because we don't have side walks - nobody complains) to play. Sometimes they come home when they get pissed off at their friends, but then go back 15 minutes later after they get over it. Everyone knows who the mean old lady is and stays off her grass. And one of my daughter's favorite things to do is stand on our lawn and yell "Isaiah!" and see if the neighbor's dog comes running over (he usually does).
So my point is that Xers are bringing neighborhood back. And neighborhood has nothing to do with urban, suburban, or rural. It makes sense, because we are not the workoholics that the Boomers were at our age, so we have more than just work friends. We have neighbors.