NXT

NXT #livingsmaller

August 5, 2013
by Leeanne Brennan

#livingsmaller

Today, people and their stuff are taking up less space. It’s circumstantial – we don’t need as much (netflix has killed the DVD rack) and we can’t afford as much (at least until that student loan is paid off [hahahahaha like that’ll ever happen]). On top of that, there are cultural shifts afoot – people are prioritizing experiences over material things and looking to share items they would formerly own. A new generation, armed with technology, is saying “no thanks” to McMansions and “yes pleez” to anything that’ll give their peers FOMO on instagram.

“The millennials’ relationship with money seems quite simple. They do not have a lot of it, and what they do have, they seem reluctant to spend. Millennials are buying fewer cars and houses, and despite their immersion in consumer culture, particularly electronics, they are not really spending beyond their limited means. Their credit-card debt has declined, most likely because many millennials cannot get a credit card, and in part because they know they cannot afford to spend now and pay back later” (New York Times).

“Susanka has zeroed in on this group even further. “It’s at least a quarter of the population of the United States (referring to what author Paul Ray calls the “cultural creatives”) who look at what’s happening in suburbia and say, ‘Oh my God, I don’t want that.’ They have historically purchased existing houses in the inner ring of the suburbs. The reason they’ve done that is that the houses have character and the neighborhoods historically are strong.” These people are often educated, progressive types of varying income levels who think about more than just their own needs. “You could say they have ‘green’ values,” Susanka says, speaking from her not-so-big home office in Raleigh, N.C.” (MSN).

“Although her charming aerie has a working fireplace and a courtyard view, here is what Ms. Stolarski’s apartment does not have: a couch; tchotchkes; specks of dirt; paperwork (“I’m 25,” she shrugs. “I’m a digital girl.”)… As for entertaining guests? Like many others with no space to spare, she usually meets friends at bars and restaurants” (New York Times).

IMPLICATIONS
How can you support the minimalist-by-necessity lifestyles of today’s experience-driven non-materialists?

Image by Specht Harpman via Freshome.com.

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