Monbiot's portrait of a lonely society in which older people tend to be isolated should perhaps be completed by assessing the spatial and material dimensions of everyday life, and particularly of the built environment. While exploring everyday use of local high streets by older people, one thing is emerging quite clearly and it is well expressed by this photo. Many older adults, mostly those living alone, prefer the bustle of a town centre as opposed to "staring at the green" in a park. Both things are not mutually exclusive obviously and should be part of what a "healthy" city has to offer to its citizens. More attention however should be given to public realms that may increase the chances of reducing loneliness and raise the serendipity of everyday social life against individualism and competition.
The war of every man against every man – competition and individualism, in other words – is the religion of our time, justified by a mythology of lone rangers, sole traders, self-starters, self-made men and women, going it alone. For the most social of creatures, who cannot prosper without love, there is no such thing as society, only heroic individualism.