The demise of the middle class, rising housing costs, new options in senior living, the Millennial generation’s preference for urban living, raising children as a single parent – Bella DePaulo considers all of these and more in her new book, “How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century.” A social scientist at the University of California-Santa Barbara who has built a reputation for her research on the experience of singles, DePaulo takes readers along as she travels all over the United States to see how the mid-20th century paradigm of the nuclear family/suburban household has been metamorphosing into a diverse 21st century array of models for domestic bliss.
There are chapters on solo living, cohousing, multigenerational households and other innovative ways of creating “lifespaces” that are responsive to considerations of budget, privacy, companionship, autonomy, security, and overall well-being.
DePaulo provides historical context and also a consideration of how laws, policies, and zoning might have to be reimagined for some of these housing ideas to take hold on a broader scale.
“How We Live Now” is an invigorating work, but for an even more dazzling look at how people live, check out “My Couch Is Your Couch,” a collection of photos and essays by Gabriele Galimberti. The Italian documentarian spent two years crisscrossing the globe and relying on the Couchsurfing.com social network for a place to lay his head at night.
The resulting book reveals a remarkable range of spaces that people call home: a trailer in Texas, a skyscraper in Jakarta, a castle outside of Cologne, a religious household in Botswana, and much, much more. Galimberti photographs portraits of his hosts at work, at play, and at home. While capturing the diversity of cultures across six continents, he also presents the needs we have in common.
Barbara Lloyd McMichael is our ground reporter in South King County, Wash., and author of the syndicated book review column “The Bookmonger.” Her PR for People® Book Review is written exclusively for The Connector.