Quality of life: A context sensitive idea.

housing estate

Some years ago my Dad had a stroke, a nasty one that had a profound impact on his physical capability.  We were assured by physicians that with intensive therapy and rehabilitation, he would regain a “quality of life.”

Compared to the prognosis without the therapy, this was certainly accurate, but compared to his life prior, is clearly nonsense. Never again would he walk a golf course, drive a car, take his grandsons fishing on the rocks, or just appear in public without being an object of curiosity.

Not a pleasant thought.

So, what brought this introspection on?

Recently I did a presentation at UWS that examined the 6 trends impacting on the balance between urban living, and the agricultural activity necessary to feed that urbanisation.  Regularly over the past few years I have seen advertising for various developments that take farmland and turn it into massive housing estates, and the line used inevitably seems to be something along the lines of the “quality of life” they deliver. I saw another one last night, and gagged. it resembled an ad for a soap powder, or some other consumer product, full of hyperbole, “cutsey” pictures, and whimsical claims of the domestic bliss coming from buying an overpriced box on a tiny patch of dirt.

A short time ago this dirt was highly productive land that had fed Sydney for the last 150 years, and now it is an expanse of macadam, concrete, flimsy project homes, with a bit of green left for  “family picnics” and a pond for any ducks that turn up to be fed.

At some point we need to define in what context we talk about “quality of life”, and how we will get on with that life without easy access to agricultural commodities, and the value added products they produce.


About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
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2 Responses to Quality of life: A context sensitive idea.

  1. The challenge is to put it all together and “vision” the peri-urban space as per your elements in an idealistic vision. Has anyone structured, let alone quantified the peri-urban space. Has anyone defined the planning elements in a human centric peri-urban space? Who has the tools to construct such a process to define it?

    • strategyaudit says:

      Not to my knowledge.
      The data on the relationships between urban development and agriculture seems very thin, and concentrates on a quantitative view of the relationship, cash flow, IRR, ROI, seemingly produced by those with a vested interest in the development taking place. This is not to say the vested interests are necessarily focussed in personal return (although many are), but bodies such as local councils that need to build a rateable base, planners acknowledging the city needs space as it grows, and so on, but it ignores the qualitative, the stuff that really only becomes quantifiable after the fact, when the egg has been scrambled.
      My thesis is that we need to rethink the means by which we manage the development. Urbanisation and agriculture do not have to be mutually exclusive, but to find the path we need to do things very differently from the way we have to date, and this involves a pretty radical bunch of change by a whole lot of institutional bodies not generally very accommodating of any change.

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