Monday, August 25, 2008
The High Cost of Sprawl
I'm just finishing a book by James Howard Kunstler entitled The Geography of Nowhere. Amazingly, Kunstler, in this 1993 classic, clairvoyantly outlines the consequences that are playing out now from the strip and sprawl mentality of land development this county has employed since the proliferation of the automobile.
Kunstler's tome is by no means the only book outlining the dangers of sprawl, but it's a very good read, and it was out well before this issue was center stage. If you haven't read it, I suggest do.
You can order a copy here:
Is this a call to get rid of cars? Not at all. The automobile, allowing individual freedom of movement, is a large part of the American Dream. It's just that we've abandoned all other forms of getting from here to there except for the car. In the process, the way suburban development has been planned (or more appropriately, not planned) has manifested a built environment that is more expensive to maintain, more time-consuming to utilize, and devistating to civic culture.
Today in the United States, the cost of owning and operating an automobile has become the starting price for full citizenship. But that's just where the sprawl tax begins.