When our kids were young, we would take two long trips during the holiday season and in March. We look back at all those trips with fond memories, yet each one of them had challenges. How could it not? Five people doing everything together for two weeks is a lot. How many people could any of us do that with?
Whenever we could have a meal, the rule was no phones. We might have been on day 9, with a full day of activities, but we sat down, ate, and talked when the meals came. Sometimes we played cards or games, but you had to be present. That is not what we saw or what we see these days at the table. Everyone is off to their other world, ignoring the art of conversation, regardless of being present with real humans.
People are lonely and changing how they work; people can get all their supplies through e-commerce, which goes for urban, rural, and suburbanites. We need to create more interaction in our worlds.
I read that Barcelona started limiting cars and traffic in four separate quadrants of the city a decade ago. There was early opposition because nobody likes change, but it has become a huge success. These areas have become pedestrian-friendly streets that are functioning as plazas and parks. The mental health impact has actual data. 13% fewer people are taking anti-depressants in those spots as people feel better.
We are entering a new period where change is afoot. Nobody is quite sure which path to take, but the importance of relationships, human interactions, and happy outdoor spaces is a needed response to the new post-Covid world.