Editor's Letter: Happy Days

Our editor hopes for a better mood.

Editor's Letter: Happy Days

Our editor hopes for a better mood.

It’s been a shitty winter, hasn’t it? Somewhere in about May or June, I started to notice everyone getting fractious. Restless. Tired. Sick. Everything costs more. If you own a house, it’s worth less, and if you don’t, it’s still really expensive. As we go to print, the All Blacks are on a losing streak – I don’t particularly care, but, you know. 

Apparently, we’re also now suffering from what’s known as the “twindemic” (has ever a period launched more neologisms than the past two years?) – that’s Covid, plus all the other viruses we’ve kept at bay since 2020. 

If you’re outside Tāmaki Makaurau, you might not notice it so much, but here? I have a theory that the lockdowns and closed borders have left a lasting impact that none of us have yet quantified, and it’s starting to show its hand. For the first time in nearly a century, movement and action was curtailed. 

The second half of the 20th century was a story of ever-increasing and easy travel. By 2020, you could go where you liked, when you liked, and generally that could be anywhere in the world in less than 36 hours. And, like laptops, it still cost about what it cost in 1990.

Then? Closed borders. MIQ. Multiple lockdowns, including one which ended up not being a lockdown, apart from the fact that you couldn’t leave the city without permission from the government. Then everyone got Covid anyway, and we spent a winter battling the twindemic. And we wonder why we’re all a bit frazzled. 

At some point recently, I told someone to cheer up. Or maybe they told me to cheer up – because, to be honest, I’ve needed that of late – and I started to think: maybe there’s something in that.

So our houses this issue are the result of relentless optimism. Three of them were designed on tiny pocket sites, subdivided or cut off bigger ones in major cities, and they show what is possible under new density rules coming to our cities. (The rules also allow bad design, but work with me here, okay?) 

Another was designed in the late 1960s, inspired by new ways of living – a reminder of the optimistic spirit of mid-century modernism and its enduring appeal and liveability. And another is built around gardens and the land for a family seeking a different kind of life – one enabled by modern technology and remote working. 

They’re all about change: good change. Because change makes life better if you’re brave. So: cheer up! 

Go on. 

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