The Los Angeles Times recently reported that two new apartment buildings will go up soon in West Hollywood, named the Dylan and the Huxley. The idea behind these new developments is to cater to young people who don’t live the traditional 9-to-5 lifestyle, but who work from home and hope to find the sense of community we envision when we think of bohemian loft living and sharing physical space as well as wifi passwords.
The idea of selling the idea of a way to live isn’t a new one. A generation ago, suburbs sprang up all over the country filled with identical stucco and tile “McMansions” equipped with massive dining rooms, designed and built to cater to a desire to project a certain image and live a certain lifestyle. And if these buildings in WeHo are an indicator of the next wave of building and marketing a lifestyle, we have to wonder: are they getting it right?
Are developers able to instantly create a sense of being by simply replacing the no-longer-necessary dining room with an office? Can we buy the community we aspire to, or is that just a dream? Would Dylan Thomas and Aldous Huxley approve?
Mike Leipart, chief marketing officer at The Agency, a Beverly Hills real estate agency
Amitai Etzioni, founder and director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at George Washington University in Washington DC