Author: Jonathan Miller, Maureen McAvey, Uwe Brandes, C.Y. Leung, Gareth Evans, Greg Clark
Published: October 2011
The introduction to the 21st century is still unfolding in cities and communities around the world. The complexity of the Great Recession continues to challenge all market players with implications that ripple out across countries, industries, currencies, and communities. From reconstruction dilemmas following natural disasters to civil unrest, political friction, and the heart-stopping ravages of the latest famine, we feel a world getting smaller yet more complicated and interdependent than ever before.
After decades of what felt like infinite resources and vast wealth pools available to fuel the consumption-based U.S. economy, we now face a mindset of shortage. We all know the history—government-supported mortgages and freeways, affordable automobiles, cheap gas, and post–World War II industrial expansion all underwrote the exodus from “cramped” urban neighborhoods to spacious single-family suburban homes. Car models were a talisman for individual success, and public transit turned into an afterthought in suburban agglomerations. Proximity to anything didn’t matter when you could drive easily to almost everywhere. And exhilarating mobility over long distances enabled more people to own more land—and build larger houses—at the ever-expanding suburban fringe. Employers sought to build suburban office islands, set apart from housing, retail, and transit.