Monday, July 06, 2009

Reshaping society - "commuting" is pointless

I just got a small online survey to complete regarding commuting. Here in the Glorious (i.e. shitty) Thames Valley, everybody uses cars, and hates each other. I got a bit philosophical (surprise surprise) at the last page of the survey - you know, the "any more points to add" bit where you can type some free text in - here's what I wrote.

It's not about how you get here (meaning work), it's where you live and how that relates to your mode of transport. The last 20 years have lauded mobility (e.g. politicians references to our wonderfully mobile workforce) and the ability to live somewhere other than where you work. Net result, clusters of glass and steel boxes where people work, away from their homes. Clusters of steel boxes out of town where they shop.
The only solution is to either make workplaces smaller and locate them in pleasing buildings near where people live, or to tell people to move close to where they work.
Undoing 20 years of social trending regarding car-centric behaviour patterns will take more than "why don't you use the train" type surveys.
It will require the demolishion of our current workplaces and shopping centres and a return to smaller ways of life.

I really do believe this stuff. I think anyone who wants to drop out of the rat race but keep some technological job, would do well to move to Devon or the West Country, where there seems to be a high-tech cottage industry if what I hear is right. Live near where you work: in a beautiful location: work in a nice building (you hope) near where you live.

And drop out of this tragic excuse for an existence in the Thames Valley.

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