- The Roaring Twenty-Twenties
The Roaring Twenty-Twenties
BY RICH PROCTER
OCTOBER 2, 2020
At the end of the second decade of the twentieth century, the people of the world reeled from a pair of devastating catastrophes. The first was the Great War (this was before we started numbering them) that killed 20 million people (ten million soldiers, ten million civilians). That war ended on November 11, 1918. As the Great War was ending, an even greater threat emerged: the Spanish Flu. By the time the Flu was contained, 50 million people around the world had died, including 675,000 in the United States. What came next surprised just about everybody: a decade that roared with prosperity, innovation and progress Could this happen again? If we get a safe, reliable vaccine for the coronavirus sometime in 2021 will history repeat itself? I’m going to bet that the Twenty-Twenties will produce a quite different but equally substantial boom, The Roaring Twenty-Twenties. Here are my reasons:
First, we’ll be eager to experience what we missed
We are social creatures. We crave opportunities to come together in settings a simple as a coffee shop and as splendid as a theme park, a Broadway theater or an art museum. Each of us is the star of our own life adventure, and the success of this adventure depends on the depth and quality of our supporting cast. Who among us now, socially distanced at home, doesn’t crave the simplest social rituals we all took for granted for so many years? The hug hello. The coffee date. Happy hour at the hotel bar. A family picnic. The birthday party, the play date, two tickets to the ballgame, the happy birthday lunch for a workmate. Every one of these pleasurable rituals will return, and we’ll all enjoy them just a little more because of our new appreciation for just how fragile our society is, and how quickly these simple things can vanish.
Second, we’ll be ready to experience new and exciting places
Companies that produce transformative brand destinations and cultural attractions will thrive in the New Roaring Twenties. That’s because people will want to leave their homes to share their enthusiasm for things they love and treasure. These can be as diverse as a favorite brand of whisky, a football team, a kind of music and a favorite food. Great brand homes erase every social, ethnic and demographic barrier, inviting all kinds of guests to share their love of the brand. This decade may well see a quantum evolution in the design of these brand homes. The more people love them, the more designers and storytellers will find ways to encourage and deepen that love.
Third, we’ll be eager to tackle our greatest challenges together
The world is finally waking up to the existential threat of climate change. This is a crisis that affects everyone on earth. If we are going to defeat this threat, we will need to come together and start telling ourselves a new, universal story. This new story is that we are living beings inhabiting a living earth in a living universe, and every action we take has consequences. We are creation’s most daring experiment in reflective consciousness, fully able to change course to create an interconnected, inclusive, regenerative global society that will serve our children and grandchildren.
A great way to tell this story is in our science centers. Climate change touches just about every issue kids encounter in a science center: energy, weather, transportation, animal life, food and agriculture. Imagine the power of integrating all these subjects in a new, more empowering way that gives us the courage to do what must be done to thrive the rest of this century and beyond.
Finally, we’ll have a new appreciation for “The Commons” and a new commitment to building and supporting these places
Often, the most memorable moments of connection are the simplest: sharing a book at the library, having coffee after a yoga class, and enjoying a free summer concert in the park with a picnic supper. We’ll want to preserve and enhance these common spaces, keeping them clean, safe, and accessible to everyone. Our happiness depends on it.
We all miss each other. The New Roaring Twenties can be as happy for us as this year has been sad, lonely, and alienating. Let’s spend this next decade working together, playing together, and celebrating this wondrous, albeit brief, experience of being alive together.