Sunday, November 05, 2006

The coming peril

I live in a leafy part of what is otherwise aesthetically depressing side of town. Property prices around here tend to be more expensive than in the other surrounding areas. In fact the area seems to be a bit aspirational. Why is it then, that when new people move into the area, the first thing they seem to do is wreck it.
Now I am not against development; but I am mystified at change that totally negates the reason for it in the first place. Why move into a leafy area only to chop down all the trees? As far as I can tell, the area I live in has a degree of social status and people are moving in for that reason.
It’s the old problem: boorish but wealthy people think that they can buy class.
In other words these boorish people would spend a fortune to live in a slum if they felt that I would confer on it social status. They are insensitive to the amenity and lack the aesthetic sense to preserve it. Unfortunately they tend to bring their aesthetic choices with them. The car parked out on the lawn, chopping down age old trees while forgetting to mow the grass, the boat in the driveway and the motorbike hooning down the street.
Now before anyone thinks that I am a snob, I would like to reply that I am a snob; but a democratic snob. My exclusive club is open to all who satisfy my moral and aesthetic code: Money or race is irrelevant.
I feel we need to re introduce a certain degree of snobbery back into society if only to reign in those aspirational types without any aesthetic sense. A boor with a chainsaw can totally wreck a suburb. A cultivated man may improve it. However the cultural norms of our society severely punish those who judge by higher aesthetic or moral code. Till we change our societal values our attractive suburbs will be at the mercy of those with cash and not necessarily taste. Several “For Sale” signs have sprung up on My street.
I have a sense of foreboding.