MY MONEY: For city-dwellers, the prospect of wide open fields or a long stretch of sea currently seems to trump any pleasures
I put my own postcode into the interactive map and discovered that the tiny park behind my London flat, which is the same size as three Olympic swimming pools laid nose-to-tail, is also the closest green space for around 10,000 other people.
This makes it sound worse than it is. We have access to a much larger park about a 15-minute walk away, as well as pretty canal paths and a surprisingly pleasant cemetery.
But these stark figures really brought home to me the disadvantage of living in a big city. With usage of public transport still being discouraged, this huge metropolis suddenly feels very cramped and small.
Is this the end of the city slicker?
It starts to make one wonder why we pay such a high price to live in such small homes jammed so close together. Is it really worth that price tag?
I have seen other people re-evaluating their lifestyles, as travel restrictions force us to consider: how much do you fundamentally like the place you live? For city-dwellers, the prospect of wide open fields or a long stretch of sea currently seems to trump any pleasures of the hustle and bustle.
My prediction? More people are going to abandon cities if they have the means to do so. This is of course a privilege of those who can either shift their job elsewhere or take it with them on their laptop, but it could fundamentally shift the property market. Estate agents are already predicting a drop in London sales and rental prices as well as the crumbling of the traditional commuter belt.
Shift to new normal
I don’t think this is a bad thing. If more people are able to work from home, it could give a lot of areas their heart back, even within cities. Places can be chosen based on their own merits rather than their proximity to other places.
There would be an explosion in new coffee shops to cater for all the remote workers.
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It’s possible that all this will be forgotten once the theatres and galleries reopen and we can spend our time in pubs and shops again, but I think at the very least there will be a sharpened awareness of what you miss out on by choosing urban living, alongside all the wonderful things you have access to.
Are you thinking of making a big lifestyle change after lockdown? I’d love to hear about it.