Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I like any discussion of land use issues in my hometown paper, but this piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette seems like a pretty weak defense of the suburbs:
Suburban life is attractive to many Americans for its particular subjective experiences. These differ from other living experiences, including those offered by urban lifestyles. So suburban living is not about housing densities . . . . Nor is it a matter of walking more: People walk, jog, and bicycle in suburbs. They just don't walk or bike to work very much. Suburban living is a matter of choice. Among many choices, really, since there are numerous distinct urban and suburban residential environments in every American metropolitan area.
Yes, it's possible that the suburbs have succeeded because people prefer the suburban "living experience" over the alternatives. Yet, it seems dishonest not to acknowledge the high price of residential units in urban areas (driven by overly agressive growth controls) might be driving a lot of the popularity of areas outside of the city center. If New York or Boston or San Fransisco allowed more construction, more people would move there over the suburbs.
(Photo: Hong Kong - the city with the most tall buildings in the world, by flickr user bsterling)