Future of life choices: the housing/car nexus

Today, here in 2018, students, staff, and faculty are all struggling with the same issue: how to make the tough tradeoffs between an affordable (and hopefully nice!) place to live and a short and affordable commute to campus. It affects our quality of life, where we choose to live, and what we spend our time and money on. Right now, it’s not working very well for a lot of people.  As Lynne Harris puts it:

Lynne Harris says "You read my mind. A lot of us (staff and students alike) are making choices between an awful commute, or living in LB on the ramen noodle diet. But there is pushback from LB neighborhoods that don't want higher density housing in their backyards. Or affordable housing options."

In 2030, it’s not hard to use your Shadow Imagination to envision a campus with more commuters, more parking lots, more cars, and even longer days for those who live even farther away.

As Alyson Brown notes, that’s because of the housing/car nexus – as goes affordable housing, so go commute patterns and needs.

REPLY: Alyson Brown says "As our population grows affordable housing is going to get worse. Soon we will not have enough housing options for our population. Big apartment complexes near CSULB can raise their prices because of the demand of students looking for housing."

Steven Yu points out how increased pressure on affordable housing will lead to more commuters, coming from farther away:

Steven Yu says "So what about students who cannot afford to live closer to campus and have to commute out of necessity?"

Fiona plays out a pretty shadowy future: Might some students have to resort to DIY personal housing right on campus?

REPLY: Fiona says "Students will set up tents on campus, as they can't afford housing. They'll be living next to the other mentally ill homeless that set up a quasi-Skid Row along Friendship Walk."

Affordable housing and long commutes are linked problems that need some new approaches. There are tons of great ideas about things our Long Beach community can start working on today:

First stop, an easy idea but hard to execute: better public transport….

Developing methods and support for student who commute. Metro only goes up to Norwalk so public transportation is limited if you aren't local or drive. #Transportation

Public transport is a hard nut to crack and involves major partnerships with external organizations. But closer to home, how about streamlining on-campus mobility so that campus commutes don’t add an extra leg to already long travel times?

Lori Joy has a great first start: an idea that would also create jobs for students and provide more inclusive mobility options for all.

Lori Joy Says "Campus 'UBER' with golf carts. #morestudentjobs"

Re-organizing campus to be a little more decentralized would also make on-campus commutes easier and faster…such as having more facilities on lower and upper campus. 

Payton says "A lower campus library that is more accessible for those who commute both to upper and lower campus, dorms, parking etc. on a daily basis."

Third, how about simply better maps of resources that are already available…

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to see who’s driving to campus and has an extra seat, exactly where the shuttles are, and where there are open parking spaces? If we start now, this should definitely be in place by 2030.

Khue Duong says "To see a list of available commuters, cars, shuttle to commute to and from campus at a specific time of day"

We can also do better at helping commuters manage their quality of life. How about building more multi-purpose spaces that allow students, staff, and faculty to rest during those long days?

Britny Coker-Moen says "This is actually a great idea! I know a lot of students who sleep on campus or in the library because the time to commute back home, even those that live local, is too much to squeeze into our already over-loaded schedules, especially during finals. Also, sleep pods. "

This is just the beginning of the conversation. This is a huge, multifaceted issue, and one that affects our ability to show up at class and work with energy. If we want to see transformation in 2030, we have to address it with creativity, empathy, and execution.