Are peoples’ wishes really universal?

Some random thoughts on people’s wishes about their living environment, and where I seem to have developed a different way of thinking about these things.

In book 3, chapter 10: Belonging in high-density housing, section 2: A vital comment about people’s wishes, p. 312 we find questionnaire results from Japanese families to the question “What is the most important thing for you if you ask what makes a living environment for you?”

Some of the answers are:

  1. Touching nature like tree, water, green, earth, sunshine and breeze 32%

When I moved to London, UK, and was looking for an apartment, one of the most common tips and questions for finding one was, “Look for something close to a park”. Perhaps weirdly, we decided not to follow that advice. It seemed that we didn’t care that much about access to a park, and it felt like if we want to go to a park, we’d be fine to have to walk 30 minutes to get to one. We now live in a high-rise building that has no park close, but lots of little shops, restaurants, bars — things we care more about than parks, and we love it. It turns out that I quite often make it to Victoria Park, which is a massive park about 30 walking minutes away. Often I cross through another park, about as far away, on the way to a bakery which we like. Is something wrong with us for not feeling the need to be that close to nature?

  1. Formation of communication and community 15%

I have no idea who my neighbors are. That is the case today, and that has been the case in the last building I lived in. I value community immensely, but community does no longer overlap that much with the physical spaces I’m in or close to. I feel community with friends and people from all over the world, enabled by meetings in virtual spaces. That doesn’t mean I don’t value personal meetings any more — I sure do! But at this point it seems a serious regression to mainly be involved in communities that require people to be in the same place, physically.

  1. Stillness (without noise, cars) 13%

I was once spending a few nights in a hotel in New York City, right next to Times Square. At check-in, I was told, “We’ve got a nice and quiet room for you, up on the 72nd floor.” Turns out if you move up high enough, the noise from the street isn’t an issue anymore.

Now I live on the 6th floor. The building is brand new, the glass windows and balcony door is well-insulated and as long as they’re all closed, the noise from the street (and the noise from the construction site across the street) do not bother us at all. Yay, to technology.

I do agree that stillness is an important thing to have in the environment you live in.

Notes mentioning this note

Here are all the notes in this garden, along with their links, visualized as a graph.