The lowly garden shed refers to that wooden structure that adorns most back gardens. It has been a fixture in most homes for generations. Even grand country houses have sheds where the gardeners keep their equipment and junk. So why is this bastion of gardening worthy of a blog?

     People have gone crazy building sheds, reported the U.K. Garden Shed Company, which has been in business for thirty-five years. Sales grew 119% between 2019 and 2020.

     This statistic may seem a little mundane to most of us, even if it’s exciting for shed supply companies. However, it may be indicative of something that could change cities.

     The pandemic has meant that many people, who now work from home, may never go back to their city offices. My son, in Manhattan, is probably one of those people.

     They have become accustomed to working from home, but they are getting increasingly fed-up with working off the kitchen table. Having kids and pets interrupting your business conversations is cute for a while, but it can get old in a hurry. Enter the lowly garden shed, assuming, of course, that you have a garden. If you don’t, you may be considering moving to the suburbs, or the country, where you can have a shed. If you can work from home, it doesn’t really matter where that home is. It could be Cornwall, Florida, Brighton, Florence, the Isle of Wight, or the Bahamas, depending on your budget. You can still have a shed in the garden.

     However, today’s garden shed is not the lowly garden shed of your father. It can have WiFi, heating, insulated wood paneling, a stereo system, a small conference room, and even a bathroom and a bed.

     Dylan Thomas and Roald Dahl wrote in their sheds, and George Bernard Shaw had a shed that rotated, to always face to sun. The possibilities are enormous.

     If this trend to sheds continues to grow, it has profound implications for cities. Less transportation, less need for restaurants and bars, an excess of office, apartment and even hotel space, with the inevitable decrease in property values at all levels. The garden shed may have a lot to answer for. Utility companies will see a drop in consumption, office supply stores will close, even city flower shops will decline, and intra-city delivery services will suffer.

     The upside is that city environments will improve significantly. Cleaner air, less congestion, less traffic cops will be needed and, if we are lucky, we might be able to see the sky and the surrounding mountains again, depending where you are.

     The garden shed may well become a significant economic indicator of the future. Who would have thought?

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