If living in a mansion is your dream, you may be closer than you think. I don’t mean the traditional type of mansion where you reside alone in a giant house behind closed gates. I mean the modern mansion that is far more accessible and appealing.
The modern mansion is an intentional community with all of the conveniences and services that anyone might want. But in a more elegant and modern way. Everyday people are realizing the benefits of exchanging their ‘traditional mansions’ where most rooms are vacant most of the time, for a modern mansion, where most rooms and buildings are mixed use and can be utilized by members of the community throughout the day. Let me explain with these three benefits.
An intentionally designed community, or modern mansion, provides a greater living experience and is accessible to greater numbers of people, than a traditional mansion. And when able to spread costs of shared services and facilities over many people, the costs become fractionalized and within reach of most individuals.
Think of all of the features in a traditional mansion along with the needed cost, maintenance, and upkeep. And how much more efficient it is to be part of a modern mansion that includes all of these things with costs that are distributed among all members and residents.
Private pools are replaced by much larger and more appealing community pools. Personal chefs are replaced by multiple kitchens with a variety of specialties and on-demand service. Home gyms are replaced by much more elaborate gyms and spas with available trainers and nutritionalists. In-home movie theaters and replaced by much larger movie screens with access to all of the newest releases. Private fenced yards are replaced by community parks and gardens.
The traditional thought is that an individual should have all of these things to himself. The modern thought is that an individual should have access to all of these things when they want it.
So what should remain private or personal in a modern mansion? This will differ for everyone depending on their stage of life, but for many people, this can be as minimal as a private place to sleep, a place to hang some clothes, and access to a clean and private restroom facility. Everything else can be shared with the community in a modern mansion.
Bill Gates has a home valued around $150 Million that sprawls over 66,000 sq ft. It includes a private library, a 60 foot swimming pool, a 2,500 sq ft gym, and a 1,000 sq ft dining room.(1)
For comparison, a typical modern mansion that is within reach of many more people in a nearby neighborhood sprawls over several acres and includes an 11 story community library, an olympic sized swimming pool with a waterpark, a 20,000 sq ft gym covering 3 floors with diverse classes throughout the day, and dozens of notable restaurants along with pop-up restaurant halls to taste a variety of flavors. The total infrastructure build out for the modern mansion is in the billions of dollars. But the cost for an individual to access all of this with private and personal space may be a few thousand dollars a month.
We want transportation, not a private car we have to drive ourselves. We want to swim, not maintain a private swimming pool. We want to work out at a gym, not be responsible to purchase and maintain gym equipment. We want access to good food at all hours of the day, not a giant kitchen that we have to stock where we cook and clean. And we want access to green space, not to spend our weekends caring for the yard.
People today want to be attached to nothing, but connected to everything. They want to have a place to relax and call home without being alone. People want to be part of a community and not be alone. They want to be at the intersection of diverse ideas and people rather than isolated behind closed gates and left with limited cul de sac conversations.
To be happy, we need intimate bonds; we need to be able to confide, we need to feel like we belong, we need to be able to get and give support. In fact, strong relationships are key – perhaps the key – to a happy life. (2)
Baby boomers are leaving their nests in the suburbs for fun in the city. Why? Their nests are empty. They are over the big houses, with big lawns and swimming pools in constant need of maintenance. And when you happen to be one of the largest generations — an estimated 74.9 million — and the wealthiest generation ever to retire, developers and businesses start to notice. (3)
A growing number of boomers are trading their suburban homes for smaller apartments in city centers across the country. Gone are the days when the golden years meant playing bridge in a retirement community. Instead, these boomers are moving into neighborhoods that have been revitalized with a different demographic in mind: millennials. New urbanism was conceived for millennials, but it is affordable to boomers. (4) The economics are improved. The psychological effects are better. And, the environmental impact is better.
It is quite obvious that the modern mansion leaves a smaller carbon footprint per person than the traditional mansion. But what is not readily recognized is that the modern mansion provides an improved ecological impact than living in a similarly priced rural setting.
Well designed and well governed communities can combine high living standards with much lower greenhouse gas emissions. The intentional community provides a carbon footprint of 1/2 to 1/3 that of their counterparts. In the US, New Yorkers register footprints of 7.1 tonnes each, less than a third of the US average of 23.92 tonnes. And the per capita greenhouse gas emissions for a Londoner in 2004 were the equivalent of 6.2 tonnes of CO2, compared with 11.19 for the UK average. (5) A sustainable approach to housing requires attention to a combination of factors, including location, square footage, design, materials, and activities.(6)
Do you want to live in a mansion? Do you want to enjoy all of the amenities you desire in an affordable solution? Do you want to have improved relationships and psychological benefits? Do you want to reduce your ecological footprint? Intentionally built communities are being thoughtfully designed and built in cities near you. Your modern mansion may be within reach.