Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Against Suburbs

leave a comment »

I’ve written before about the need for better civil engineering on the national scale in this country, to do whatever we can to reduce and reverse the tremendous damage caused by the short-sighted suburbification of America in the second half of the twentieth century. Via Ezra Klein comes an article at Worldchanging.com about how what we build influences how we live. One point the article could emphasize more—as Klein himself does in a follow-up post—is the extent to which desuburbification is not a tradeoff or a sacrifice but instead a return to a better way to live. Towards the end, though, it gets there:

Most arguments against land-use change presume that building compact communities is a trade-off; that investing in getting walkable, denser neighborhoods, we lose some or a lot of our affluence or quality of life. What if that’s not true, though? What if the gains actually far outweigh the costs not only in ecological and fiscal terms, but in lifestyle and prosperity terms as well? I think that’s the case.

I believe that green compact communities, smaller well-built homes, walkable streets and smart infrastructure can actually offer a far better quality of life than living in McMansion hintersprawl in purely material terms: more comfort, more security, more true prosperity. But even more to the point, I believe they offer all sorts of non-materialistic but extremely real benefits that suburbs cannot. Opponents of smart growth talk about sacrificing our way of life — but it’s not a sacrifice if what you get in exchange is superior.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 21, 2008 at 2:12 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: