This dream has been in hibernation for a few years, because it was unobtainable and risky to buy a house.
City-dwellers, city-slickers or young urban professionals – younger, career oriented people from the city have been given many nicknames before and during the crisis. The nicknames reflected that it had been necessary to stay in the cities. Condominiums weren’t sellable, the banks wouldn’t loan out money to young families’ house purchases, regulation of the financial sector was so harsh that the demands for safety and income in reality limited many people’s loan capability and the banks’ from giving loans. There wasn’t anything else to do but squeeze together in the one or two-bedroom apartment – with one or two children as well.
Necessity became a virtue. The new black became compact housing designed as efficiently as a sailboat cockpit, the café latte life extended with a Christiania bike to transport the children, shared plant beds in the courtyard, shared cow on Lolland and city bees on the rooftop. It became so fashionable that the need for space, light and air was ridiculed and was labeled as old fashioned. In the horizon was the vision of all 6 million Danes ending up as city dwellers.
Now the morning sun is once again shining on the suburbs and the small to mid-sized towns’ houses and the young families are hearing yes in the banks and yes from each other to moving out of the city, to realize the dreams that were always there for light, air and space for family, children and adults.
There are better school roads in the suburbs and the provincial towns. There’s less pollution in the streets, daycares have real, large playgrounds and not just a courtyard or a play area on the 1.st floor, and woods and beaches can be right around the corner without it costing an astronomical amount. You don’t need an outdoor daycare to make sure your children have a life with nature.
Over the past years we’ve conducted a number of surveys of the Danish house dreams in connection with an analysis of patterns for settling and other analyses of preferences for homes. In relation to these we have also conducted a lot of in-depth interviews with young people and young families. For most, the dream is completely clear. A bigger home that is affordable and that has the qualities they’re looking for.
Many would have liked to stay in the big city they lived in, but simply couldn’t afford to if their criteria for their homes were filled. For more than 70% of the interviewed the price was the main factor or of great significance. So initially, moving out to fulfill the reawakened house dream happens with the wallet at the forefront of the mind.
That will slowly change, so the movement away from the big city, which is a necessity for many families with children to fulfill their housing dreams, becomes a virtue. That’s why the house dream by 2020-2025 is influenced by the interpretation of our situation in life; much like city life was an interpretation of a necessity during the financial crisis.
The single-family house- or townhouse-dream will be described and staged in the years to come. Expect tv-shows like “That’s why we chose the house” and “Our dream of light and space in the countryside”. Also expect long articles in the house and home magazines that will explain why you should move out where the children can grow and thrive while mom and dad commute to work and procure everything for the new home. The dream can easily contain an electric car, shared commutes, new railway lines and being green and environmentally friendly. It will for a lot of people.
But there are also dreams that just need to be awoken. The people we interviewed who lived in cities emphasize sitting on the porch and grilling with friends without other people being able to look in, the option of having a large room for each child, the option of living the good life with an open kitchen and a lawn for play and ballgames. Many of them grew up in the suburbs and brought the dream with them from childhood.
Contrary to an earlier time, the house should be a newly built square box with a specific brick on the outside. Otherwise we’re back to the mansions and “master builder villas”. The house from 1960s and 1970s isn’t last on the list – many young people see rebuilding-potential and are pleased with the direct access to garden and terrace. Last one the wishlist would be the single-family house from the 1990s with integrated carport, faded black glazed roof tiles and the large open kitchens with tiled floors. But those will return again in a few years when some entirely different young people start forming families and moving into houses.
Published here 2017