JOIN THE DOTS

Behind Covid by a country mile, the big story of recent years has been the housing crisis. This is not just a New Zealand issue but one dominating politics and the news worldwide and it surprises me why commentators cannot see the underlining connection with another recent years historically significant event.

That is the flight to big cities. For the first time in human history, more than 50% of the world’s population now live in cities. Demographers pick the figure will reach 75% within 30 years.

There are a host of reasons for this; in the developed economies, tracing back to rising education standards and city life stimulation. But it’s also true of third world nations with low education standards, in their cases driven by the pursuit of employment. Thus most African cities have huge fringe location slums filled with rural refugees.

The single exception is China which in the interest of avoiding city slums, rigorously controls such movements.

Only a very dull twenty year old would opt to stay in Oamaru, Dannevirke or Huntly given the choice of the big smoke with its city buzz.

And now that we’re approaching 50% of kids experiencing university education and spending three or more years in a city, even if pursuing an orthodox career such as medicine, law or accounting, they’re certainly not going back to Hawera, Greymouth or Masterton once qualified.

Nowadays, putting aside the numerous nonsense subjects of Fat Women Studies, Air Hostessing, Maori Wonderfulness and the like corrupting universities, the rich variety of topics nearly all demand a city presence to pursue a career in them.

Add that to the recent years phenomenon of retirees opting for the big cities for their stimulation and it all adds to ever growing city populations; ergo, a continuous housing problem as major city populations continue to soar, leaving in their wake semi-ghost towns filled with folk without earning ability to cope. The only redeeming feature is it offers city fat girls desperate for a husband, a solution. Shift to Patea or Oamaru and the like and they’re snapped up by desperate farmers with no other options, their own town’s pretty girls having long departed.

7 Comments

Strangely the migration to cities hasn’t been successful in raising productivity in this country at least. Personally i have migrated in the opposite direction and been happier for it.

Laughter, truly the best medicine. Thanks Dr Bob, you’ve kept me healthy for decades.

You just had to put the slipper into Masterton Sir Robert. Well, sorry to pop your cheery, but if the measure is pretty girls then Masterton’s punching well above it’s weight ( to use a term from Fighting Talk). In fact it’s up there with much bigger places like Taupo. Come on over and I’ll show you at least six women who’ll turn your head. But don’t come on a Friday. We lend them to Palmerston North on Fridays to pull the farmers into the mall.

only two kinds of people live in the country -those that know no better and those that know best

Chinese cities are growing at an incredible pace with increased urbanization actually a planning goal. Elsewhere in the world the move to the cities has not resulted in a shortage of restaurants or barbers shops. It only leads to a shortage of houses where building more houses is artificially restricted.

Also perhaps missing the fact of average house inhabitants. People don’t want to live in homes with their parents or grandparents and also families are having fewer children. So if the population stays the same but there are smaller families or smaller populations in each household then – yes that is another factor.

China regulates this type of tidal drift to cities not just to try and avoid slums. Ingrained in Chinese memory is of the vast famine and destruction that gripped China just 70 years ago, during the Great Leap Forward.
Never again will the countryside be reduced to rubble to try and feed the cities.

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