How our greatest dream became our biggest nightmare

The Australian and American Dream has been for many decades – and maybe it still is – space: a big house, a big backyard, a swimming pool and space for two cars, or these days often five cars. This is what we were all told we should aspire to. Everyone copied everyone else, and so now Australia and America are full of big houses with big backyards and swimming pools and parking for lots of cars.

Stuck on the roads?

But many people think our greatest dream has tuned into our biggest nightmare. Today our “dream” has become:

  • Congestion: many people spend 15 hours a week sitting in their car stuck in traffic.
  • Cost: car drivers on average have to work 1.3 minutes to pay for each kilometre driven, or 13 minutes for each 10 kilometres (tweeted @lennartnout @Canada_Bikes).
  • Obesity: 63% of people living in Australia are seriously overweight or obese.

Sydneysiders, for example, currently make 16 million trips on an average weekday and 15 million at the weekend. Almost 70% of weekday trips are taken by car during peak periods. This leads to increased pressure on the road network, and public transport.

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” Ellen Goodman

Many people struggle to find even one day of rest each week. We are so time poor that many of us pay to have everyday tasks done. These days people pay:

  • to have their shirts ironed
  • to have their houses cleaned
  • to have their children cared for
  • to have their dog walked
  • to have their lawns mowed.

Not much of a “dream”, is it?

What do you think?


Download here B 32 BOOK Extract 2 How are greatest dream became our biggest nightmare

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I’m Rachel. I am the Author of Decongestion – 7 steps for mayors and other city leaders to cut traffic congestion without the expense of new roads or annoyed residents. I am passionate about helping Mayors and other city leaders to cut traffic congestion so that their/our towns/cities are lucrative, liveable and lovable.