October 31, 2009
I got a 35-pound package delivered to my office. Old life: Stick the package in the trunk and drive it home. New life: Haul the package to the corner of K Street and Connecticut Ave. and hail a cab. Future life: Live without 35-pound packages.A typically response here would be: see, look how bad life would be without cars. How would you haul around all your stuff? Which raises an equally good point, why do we even need all that stuff?
But I digress, because the reason for this post is really about Generation Y more than it is about Boomers. I was sitting around a poker table over the summer with a few people I'd known since high school. All but one of us grew up in suburbs, and the fact that we were in the basement of an unnecessary large house in a subdivision miles away from the closest city was brought up at some point. To my surprise, there was unanimous agreement that suburbs were really not great places to be.
I was supposed to graduate from college last May. That didn't happen. But a lot of my friends did graduate. Some of them moved to cities, but fewer than said they were going to.
What happened? I think it has to do with the fact that, for a lot of young people, suburbs are literally all they know. Even if they want to become city-dwellers like White, it would require breaking more than two decades of momentum and denying what has always been the default in their lives. The default option can be a very powerful thing.