4.1. Balance in everyday life
Over the last 30-40 years, there has been a marked change in the way we live, work and conduct our daily lives. Family life is often characterized by the fact that both parents work full time, whether they live together or not. The former division between the time we spend at work and the life we lead together with our family and friends, is collapsing.
We have a work culture and family life that for some is characterized by great personal enjoyment, but for others is associated with major challenges. Some cannot imagine a better life. Others are unable to get a work and family life balance, either socially, economically or emotionally.
For The Alternative, a socially sustainable society is a society where the individual citizen experiences a life characterized by meaningfulness, quality and social significance.
Flexible work life
The Alternative wants a labor market characterized by greater organizational flexibility and diversity – a flexibility and diversity that reflects the different needs that we as humans have over a lifetime.
There are periods in a person’s life where he or she can and wants to work a lot. On the other hand, there are also times when a person either cannot or does not want to work at the same high level of intensity.
It should therefore be possible to save working hours up if a person, through a period of time, puts in a lot of extra work effort. The excess hours should be able to be put into a time bank, out of which they can again be drawn if there is a period in a person’s life where he or she wants to reduce the time spent working or stop working altogether. The different parts of the labor market should participate in developing a model for the time bank.
Balance between family and work life
The Alternative will work with Danish parents with young children to create a much better balance between family and work life. This starts and ends, of course, with each parent. The Alternative believes that businesses, the different sections of the labor market, and not least the public sector, must assume a social responsibility for us to create the best possible conditions for a good family life and thereby a good childhood.
The Alternative will take as its starting point, the Family and Working Life Commission’s 31 specific recommendations to relaunch the public debate on the condition of families with young children. This will be done through a series of public debates around the country in the autumn of 2014 and the spring of 2015.
Experimenting with new housing, building and ways of living
Accommodation facilities that are designed around the possibility of social interaction are generally very popular, and Denmark has historically been the frontrunner for experimenting with new forms of housing and living. The Alternative wants to build on this tradition in the transition to sustainability because new forms of housing and living are a way to reduce our collective ecological footprint, while at the same time achieving greater human well-being.
There are already many such social and environmental projects around the country, but we want to make it much easier for citizens to try out different forms of housing, building and ways of living – both in the countryside and in the city. This could be done by making public land available, through easier exemptions in the Agricultural Zone Law, through targeted requirements for local plans, and by providing assistance in the form of guidance, research and financial support to the establishment.
The Alternative also wants to prioritize public investment in residential areas and projects, where the social, ecological and cultural aspects are thought through and integrated into an overall solution designed to benefit children and adults of all ages. We also believe that social needs must be incorporated more into urban planning in general, creating natural and attractive spaces where people can meet, and where social life can unfold.