There was an article in the National Post yesterday entitled: “The $6-million Vancouver mansion, complete with indoor pool and media centre, that’s just another tear down.” As the name implies, the story is about a recently renovated mansion in Vancouver that was subsequently purchased for $6 million with the sole intention of being knocked down in order to build another, larger home. One of the lamentations in the article is how homes are now priced out of the reach of most Vancouver residents.
In the comments section, there was a remark that it was the right of the buyer to do this because it is his or her land. I agree that it is their right to do so and I don’t have a problem with that. What stuck out to me however, is the emphasis on it being the right of the individual to do as they please with no real concern about what it is doing to the ‘neighbourhood’. Our neighbourhoods are becoming simply an amalgamation of individual homes and this is hurting us. I think this turn from the community or society to individual is going to come back to bite us some day.
My current research is on shareholder value maximization versus stakeholder theory and I see parallels. The former is focused primarily on a single stakeholder category, while the latter takes into consideration the broader community. The more we focus on the rights and benefits of the individual, the more we seem to sacrifice our neighbourhoods and community. The owner of a home or a company has a right to do as they see fit, but there are going to be increasing repercussions of focusing on the individual at the cost of the whole neighbourhood.