11/11/20 The pandemic is chasing people out of the city. It is just another wave of migration, but this time it is triggered by a radically different motivation and its true reason lies elsewhere.
The previous wave of migration in the late 1990s ‒ early 2000s resulted from the urban dwellers’ desire to own something private, which can be called ‘one’s own’. Everyone wanted to try on the role of land- and house owners: it was a retaliation to the previous experience of collective living.
Then there followed a period of disappointment, primarily, with time-consuming commuting from the “out-of-town paradise” to downtown. For many, it became quite clear that a substantial part of life is spent on daily migration. Quite recently, city living acquired a new importance, because it provides a “short leg” to culture and entertainment, which outweigh the feeling of owning something private, like flowerbeds at the porch. Once again, people came to appreciate the city with its intensity of living and its more comprehensive and rewarding experience of time. The US Suburban Lifestyle movement was criticized and city sprawling was condemned as a negative trend.
A new wave of migration is triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is propelled by new opportunities, primarily new communication technologies, and it makes a serious claim that new forms of settlement have more chances to become permanent. Here, we come to an understanding that the new trend in settlement may endure and keep its out-of-town format only if it is locally provided with all the components for full-fledged living. The new wave of migration is a new exciting version of the Suburban Lifestyle. With additional opportunities to work remotely, a new autonomous lifestyle has emerged. It is rooted in a small community, which enables work and provides friends, basic-needs services, etc. We witness the emergence of totally new communities and it is unclear for how long this phenomenon will last.
Suburban self-sustaining townships, which only recently have been heavily criticized, are now posing numerous questions, including ‘are they good or bad’? Being part of the process, we are asking these questions to ourselves. This project is our second large-scale attempt to get out of the city, and this time we have a new agenda. It is a very exciting process, as we are trying to comprehend it and to identify new features of suburbia.