Charles Marohn of Strong Towns, never shy of stirring the pot, wrote a blog post today, “Can Baby Boomers be a part of the solution?”. While he is careful to avoid bashing Boomers (an amazingly popular thing to do), he nonetheless misses the target, in my opinion.
GSSD has strong admiration for Charles Marohn and Strong Towns, and in fact hosted him in San Diego for his Curbside Chat. He speaks truth to power in the way Jane Jacobs did in 1961.
Below is my response to Charles.
I think the resistance to change is an age issue, and not a generational issue. I suspect that the GenX’rs will be just as resistant to change as they age, as the Boomers are starting to be, and as the generations before them were. Studies show that NIMBY’s are usually older.
When we talk about generational identity, I always think about the book, “Generations”, by William Strauss and Neil Howe. The book “describes a cyclical theory of history based on repeating generational archetypes.” (Wikipedia). Boomers are Idealists, Dreamers, Philosophers. The generation is filled with big thinkers and spiritual leaders like Andres Duany, Steve Jobs, Deepak Chopra, Bill Gates, John Lennon. Of course, the dark side of Boomer idealism is culture wars, religious fundamentalism, and politics where ideology trumps common sense.
GenX’rs are the Doers. Sick of watching the previous generation talk big but do little, they get right to the point and get things done. You, Chuck, are a good example. However, my bet is on the next “Great Generation” – the Millennials. According to the book, this generation is a civic minded one. They are “vigorous and rational institution-builders … aggressive advocates of technological progress, economic prosperity, social harmony, and public optimism.” (Wikipedia)
So The Boomers have laid the foundation and ideals. I suspect the GenX’rs will pick up the ball and get things rolling, while the Millennials will finish up the job, creating the new society that we all hope to have.
Then it will start all over again.
-Walter Chambers, GSSD