Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Outer Suburbs Will Get Clobbered"

NYTimes Link
“Living closer in, in a smaller space, where you don’t have that commute,” he said. “It’s definitely something we talk about. Before it was ‘we spend too much time driving.’ Now, it’s ‘we spend too much time and money driving.’ ”

The only reason these homes were able to be built in the first place was cheap energy (and the fact that the hidden costs of dirty energy are...well hidden). So if everybody returns to cities (variety of densities and affordability) and we are able to return to traditional neighborhood design featuring a variety of affordabilities and densities and universal accessibility to amenities and open space, will people ever want to even move back to exurban environs even if clean energy becomes ubiquitous? Me thinks no.

The problem that exists now is that good urban neighborhoods (whether they be in high-rise or single family neighborhoods (key word: not "development") or so rare and such a commodity that they have become largely unaffordable. Even if the homes were built of moderate size and moderate affordabilities (see: M Streets and Hollywood Heights/Santa Monica neighborhoods in Dallas for example), they now sell around 200 bucks/foot and up.

Then, worst case scenario, what happens when all of the money moves back in, poverty is displaced back to the edge creating an absolute dystopia on the fringe?