Sunday, June 5, 2011

Commuting: another drawback of a less-thought life

This is an interesting article about how commuting to work degrades quality of life. It cites numerous studies indicating that commuting makes us fatter and more nervous, and damages our marriages. In particular the article discusses the tradeoff that many people make, getting a bigger, cheaper house in exchange for longer, life-numbing commutes. It seems the extra, seldom-used bathroom or lounge is not at all worth the increased unhappiness from a longer commute. It's all one more casualty of what I call the "less-thought life". Decisions like living in the middle of nowhere and commuting to a city make no sense for someone who is thinking logically about things like quality of life, community vitality, or even the ecological effects of his lifestyle. Such a thoughtless lifestyle then has ill effects on personal happiness and health, as well as on collective wellbeing. Furthermore, at least in my city of Chicago, houses tend to stay around the same price for a huge belt extending from the mid-North Side well into the distant suburbs, so Chicago suburbanites are extra-screwed; they're paying the same price for the same small house, but with much longer commutes. It all makes me happy to work in large part from home, and happy that I'm in a small, dense Colombian town, where I can walk to almost everything I need.

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