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In this age of retro-chic, people who have tumbled down the economic ladder are savoring life at the lower rungs. Executives who used to dine at five-star restaurants are relishing meat loaf. Homeowners who used to pay gardeners now enjoy weeding. We seem to be morphing into a resolutely can-do nation, happily embracing the verities of the good old days, before a soaring Dow brought prosperity to much of the nation. In housing, the retro-chic - or renter-chic - voices offer solace. They explain that not only is it OK to rent, it is better for everybody, including the body politick. For a century Americans lusted to own homes; government, with a slew of subsidies, abetted that lust. Those would-be homeowners wanted a stake in the American dream; they wanted security; they wanted to sink roots in a neighborhood. Now a choir of the renter-chic sings the joys of rentership. Pundits are sprouting data to comfort all renters, particularly those who have lost homes to foreclosure. They want people to recognize the initial drive to own a home as folly.


Retsinas, Nicolas. "The Rise of the Renter-chic." Boston Globe, August 16, 2009.