Been there, done that

by Yule Heibel on June 25, 2003

If you’re an urban planner for gypsies or something like that, consider this article in the Vancouver Sun today: Planners who figure out the best way to blend housing, workplaces, shopping and transportation keep blowing it because they don’t understand the frantic lives of modern families, a British study says. The big problem: People won’t live the way planners tell them to. Working couples live in the wrong areas, work in the wrong places and spend hours driving to two jobs and then ferrying the kids to sports and lessons after school. Their lives are so frenetic, says researcher Helen Jarvis, that many families need oversized wall calendars with five colours to keep everyone’s schedule straight. (…) “I’m not knocking planners for their intentions. I’m just arguing that in this very competitive climate that the U.K., like the U.S. is experiencing, families are having to cope with whatever resources they have at hand. They often live very sub-optimal lives.” Sub-optimal lives? I say, jolly well-put, old bean! Only, it’s not funny when you’re living it, which is one major reason this family got off the hamster wheel and moved to an island. If you’re lucky enough not to have been there yet — because you didn’t have kids “in the right schools” (i.e., schools you had to drive them to in ungodly congestion at ungodly hours of the morning), or you didn’t have the two-career thing going on because you could afford to avoid it, or because you weren’t, for whatever unpatriotic reasons, getting squeezed by the live-this-way dicta of succeeding on the hamster wheel — don’t worry: it’ll probably catch you up. Just remember not to run counter-clockwise.


jr June 26, 2003 at 7:24 pm

I guess I should have become a planner. Obviously they don’t live hectic lives. Cripes, now I’m sub-optimal too.

Yule Heibel June 27, 2003 at 1:25 am

The old adage, “living well is the best revenge,” still applies, I guess.

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