People say that suburban and exurban housing growth is offset by a move to the cities. Wendell Cox looks at empirical data to prove that this is not the case, and deduces that people still tend to move to suburbia when they relocate.
Smart Growth, Sprawl & Urban Development
You have heard the rhetoric: the suburbs are unsustainable, destroy farmland, lack community, and cause global warming. "Anti-Sprawl" messages are popular and the images of friendlier neighborhoods and healthier lifestyles are appealing. But what exactly is sprawl? And is this a new phenomenon, or merely another stage of development? Or, perhaps, sprawl is what humanity really wants and smart growth proponents just want to run everyone's lives...
Evidence suggests that there are multiple issues behind the spread of suburbia including population growth, the allure of safer neighborhoods, the desire to have a little bit of green space to call one's own, better schools, the advent of the automobile, etc. Obviously, by the spread and popularity of the suburbs, people seem to like the lifestyle.
At the same time, many look upon the suburbs and new developments as a blight on the land, which is unnatural, ugly, and a threat to the environment. New urbanists would hope to push people back into urban environments with new developments that incorporate public transit and mixed-use developments, while limiting or even preventing further new developments outside of existing suburbia.
Others reject new urbanism and see a brighter future with more freedom and opportunity to improve urban and suburban environments by reducing government regulations and zoning controls to let the market provide new housing options.
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