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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Comment on excellent 'The Atlantic' article, 'The Cheapest Generation'

I've been following these trends carefully with an eye to both the Southeast and the Pacific Northwest, both of whose mid-sized urban areas are downsizing housing and autos. Serenbe, the bespoke ecologically-minded community a half-hour south of Atlanta is the new paradigm for this movement.

A still-small-but-growing trend is the Tiny House movement with houses which may be +/-150-500 square feet, or so. Some are even smaller, even while the national average is over 2500 square feet. I've decided to go the Tiny House route when I fully retire. All that's required is a postage-stamp-sized piece of land (mine will be high-altitude) with connections to utilities, although the housing industry is fighting this trend tooth and nail. The early adopters in that home-building business will probably be the winners. And the feet ** and knuckle- ** draggers will be left behind in the (saw)dust.
The Today show recently aired a segment on tiny spaces in Manhattan, all that a recent-grad might afford. Some are finding that it's all they need anyway. 
In late-1984, I specially-ordered and bought a 1985 Honda Civic CRX HF, a 59-mpg 2-seater in an era of road boats. By today's safety standard, it probably left much to be desired, but I had a ton of fun with it driving the winding backroads of the Southern Appalachians. My heart has always been with the small and fuel-efficient and I'm glad to see a return to that. 
Hey, I'm also all for luxurious cars, and I'm glad to see Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, Chevy, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru, and all the other makers playing Up-The-Mileage. That's smart of them, and good for us. Even better will be when the day comes when not a single car on the road relies on greenhouse-gas-producing fuels.
These Gen Y kids are smart, a hell of a lot smarter than my generation is. They're completely revamping work rules, and they're still efficient and productive. They're saying, 'Why do I need 2000 square feet to clean when I'm only going to live in 500 square feet of it?", and they're right. They're using car-sharing rather than car-buying because for the hour a week that they drive, it's just a grocery hauler, or maybe a go-see-some-nature conveyance, and why would anyone want to pay a grand a month for that?
Smart. I'm proud of my generation's accomplishments too, but we threw caution to the wind and left our toys scattered and the playground soiled. I think the Gen Y'ers will be the ones to fix what we broke, and I thank them in advance.
The excellent 'Atlantic' article, "The Cheapest Generation" by Derek Thompson and Jordan Weissmann can be found here.