The commute is killing our small towns and villages

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

commute_evening_trafficAside from not being good for us and the Planet the daily commute – often from up to hundreds of miles away – to the cities, and more often than not by motorcar, is destroying our small towns and villages in that they are being turned into dormitories being all but devoid of human life and interaction.

Great, so you live in the country (pushing the locals out because of the price hikes the homes are taking), while working in the city fifty or more miles away. But that means that, in order to be at work by nine in the morning you have to leave home, to take the train or dive, by about five or latest six. And you get home from work, if you immediately get the return journey after leaving work at five, probably by eight in the evening, depending on traffic and train delays. This means you only get to enjoy your country life on the weekends.

This move to the country while working in the city cause the house prices to go well beyond the means of the local people and their children forcing them to leave and go elsewhere leading to the decline of the local schools and economy.

The city workers who move into the country also bring their own values to the countryside complaining then about the smell from the farms, the fact that they get stuck behind farming tractors, that the cockerels crow early in the morning and that the church bells chime early on Sunday when they want to have a lay in and they force it on the locals to silence cockerels and the church bells more often than not.

The countryside is a place of work and not a dormitory and this commuterization, to coin a new phrase, of the countryside is not healthy in more than one way. Thus, if you want to live in the countryside then also work there. Create work for yourself (and others) in the villages and do not only use the villages as dormitories.

The good thing of the increase in fuel costs and the decline in oil is, though, that soon even the very rich will no longer be able to live in the villages in the countryside and work in the cities. Even they will have to rethink the way they live and work and where they live and work and the village, once again, will be for those that live and work there.

Unfortunately, this means that, by then, most of the infrastructure will no longer exist in those villages and will have to be recreated but, maybe, that is not all that a bad thing either as it means that one can start with a blank canvas and really start afresh.

We must, also for the sake of the villages and the people who live and work there, change where we live and work, that is to say we need to bring homes back to near our work or the other way around.

That, however, means that our towns and even our cities must become livable and also designed – redesigned – in such a way that food growing and other things also are incorporated and, at the same time, it would also be good to bring work and trade back into the villages. All sides would win in this.

© 2014