BOOMERBROADcast

Baby Boomer's social commentary on life in OUR sixties for those who rocked life in THE sixties.

Grasping at skinny straws for solutions

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Boomer broads are never at a loss for excuses about we’re always a few (or more) pounds overweight: I’m big-boned; it’s hereditary; it’s my thyroid; I don’t have time to exercise, or simply, I just love cookies and ice-cream. Well, my dears, your Boomerbroadcaster has come through with the definitive word on why it’s not our fault. It all has to do with city planning. You see, a recent research study of twenty-four cities in California by several university engineering professors concluded that the reason we’re all becoming obese and diabetic is because guys like Le Corbusier decided in the 1930s that people would be happier and healthier if our cities were more park-like. That meant no more efficient and boring street grids that connected us to stores and workplaces in the least amount of time. Instead, it was deemed that twisty, winding, wide avenues and cul de sacs would be more conducive to our well-being.

The suburbs are lovely places to live but getting to work is always a challenge.

The suburbs are lovely places to live but getting to work is always a challenge.

The result of that brilliance is that in North America it now takes us longer to get anywhere and cars are such a necessity that our entire economy has been built upon building, selling and driving cars. Unlike densely-populated cities in Europe where people walk much more than we lazy North Americans do, our residential communities are located on the perimeter of working areas. Living and working spaces are completely separated and lovely though that may be it has created generations of fatties with an increasing litany of health issues resulting from being unable to walk to the corner store without starting the car and driving to get there.

Growing up in small-town Ontario in the fifties, we rarely went anywhere in the car. My parents walked to their factory jobs. Everyone walked or biked to school except farm kids but their farm chores were usually completed before they hopped onto that bus at 7:00 a.m. Attendance at Brownies, Girl Guides, Sunday school, birthday parties, babysitting jobs, swimming lessons, summer jobs and all other events was always on foot, unaccompanied by adults. There were neighbourhood stores in the front of someone’s house every few blocks and we were always being sent to the store for last-minute quarts of milk, loaves of bread or a brick of neopolitan ice-cream for dessert. Malls didn’t exist in the fifties and early sixties so we shopped locally in our small town, on foot. How far we’ve fallen.

Wherever we live we have a responsibility to support local merchants.

Wherever we live we have a responsibility to support local merchants.

So you see, we can thank Le Corbusier for leading our city planners astray and we can thank those university professors for explaining why we can’t lose weight. I suppose we could all move to Paris where our butcher, baker, wine store and greengrocer would all be around the corner and we could walk to everything. I rather like that idea but I’m probably too old to become bilingual. I do think, however, our population and our city planners are starting to realize that driving ninety minutes to and from work each day is not the best use of resources on so many levels. It’s probably too late to start ripping up our cities to make the necessary changes but at least we can encourage them to start pouring money into public transit. That would at least require us to walk to the bus stop, climb up and down stairs to transfer to the subway and carry our groceries home in shopping bags.

Neighbourhood amenities are the key to healthy living.

Neighbourhood amenities are the key to healthy living.

The problem remains. I’m too old and too fat to live in Paris. Our city planners are ignoring the needs of seniors and baby boomers in terms of transportation and accommodation, and ongoing cutbacks in healthcare are jeopardizing any chance I might have of losing weight by making me pay for liposuction. I can only hope those city planners have an efficient plan for transporting my fat old corpse when I have a heart attack behind the wheel of my SUV on my way home from the bake shop at rush hour. If they wouldn’t listen to neighbourhood advocate Jane Jacobs, what hope do I have?

 

 

 

 

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Author: Lynda Davis

As an early Baby Boomer, born in 1947, it seems to me that as we approach our retirement years, Boomers have gone from being the energy driving our nation to slowly becoming invisible. We risk losing our identity as society remains stubbornly youth-centric. And the irony is that Gen Xers and Ys are not the majority; we are. BOOMERBROADcast is my platform for being the voice of Baby Boomers, women in particular. We've generated a lot of changes over the decades but there's still a long way to go. After a 40-year career in the corporate world, I've taken up expressing the observations and concerns of our generation. Instead of pounding the pavement in my bellbottoms with a cardboard sign, I'm pounding my laptop (I learned to type on a manual typewriter and old habits die hard). If you have issues or concerns you would like voiced or have comments on what I've voiced, I'd love to hear from you. We started breaking the rules in the sixties and now that we're in our sixties it's no time to become complacent. Hope you'll stay tuned and if you like BOOMERBROADcast, share it with your friends. Let's rock n' roll! If you would like to be notified whenever I publish a new posting, click on the little blue box in the lower right of your screen that says +Follow→ Lynda Davis

3 thoughts on “Grasping at skinny straws for solutions

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