Why Do We Love the Suburbs?

That’s another way of framing this question from Kevin Drum:

Why Do We Hate our Cities?

But I’ll play along and just say there’s plenty of anti-urban bias to go around, including among nature-loving greens who have historically loathed cities. So the larger problem, I’d argue, is as much cultural as it is political.

5 Responses to “Why Do We Love the Suburbs?”

  1. Tom Fuller says:

    The trick is trying to embrace a green lifestyle without cities. When I gave up my car in 1990 as my symbolic green act, I had no idea how it would influence my life choices going forward.

    Not being a farmer, I had to plan job choices, apartment preferences, commuting plans, proximity to shopping, and more all with the idea of not having a car.

    I don’t regret it for a second. But had I known how much work it would involve and some of the limitations it imposed, I might not have been so cavalier about making the decision.

    I would not have been able to do it without the existence of modern cities equipped with the latest technologies and amenities–at least I wouldn’t have been able to do it in the style I wanted.

    For the record, I end up using a cab (in SF, where I live) once or twice a month and rent a car about every other month. The money I save on car payments, insurance, parking, gas and tickets pretty much gets sucked into higher rents for apartments located in an area I can live in.

    Worth it? Yes. Painless? No. And if we want people to make greener choices in the developed world, there’s a bit more work to do to make those choices attractive.

  2. harrywr2 says:

    The US shifted away from being primarily an agrarian society after the invention of the automobile.
    I didn’t have an automobile when I lived in the suburbs of London or Tokyo. I didn’t need one and I didn’t miss not having one.
    The suburbs of London and Tokyo were built around the public transportation.  The suburbs of the US were built around roads.

  3. Keith Kloor says:

    One of the best books I’ve read on the U.S. shift is The Crabgrass Frontier, by Kenneth Jackson.

  4. Shub says:

    Any of you seen the movie ‘Cars’?

  5. kdk33 says:

    If you’re goin’ hard enough left, you’ll find yourself turnin’ right

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