The problem of suburban sprawl

What is the new American Dream?

The new American Dream is about place, and that brings people and communities together. The 20th Century American Dream tended to pull cities and towns apart. 

Social striving propels the drive-only suburban machine

Coalitions and strategic politics — and shifting cultural values — can deliver the structural change needed to allow American urbanism to flower again, according to Benjamin Ross, author of Dead End.

Good news on sprawl: It doesn't increase heart disease

Bad news: Traffic fatalities, cost of living, upward mobility, body mass index, obesity, physical activity, life expectancy, high blood pressure, diabetes.

A new coalition for urban place

Who benefits the most from synergistic growth, where the parts of the built environment are brought together to create a strong community and sense of place? Part 2 in a 3-part series.

Is sprawl returning? Sure, to a degree

Developers operating on greenfield sites, at scale, mostly build drive-only sprawl. That won't change until more suburban towns reform their planning and zoning policies.

The real problem with suburban roads

Authorities have done nothing to stop haphazard sprawl and commit to a more orderly pattern of compact growth in Loudoun County, Virginia, which tripled in population from 1990 to 2010.

Walkability and the American Dream

Upward mobility is strongly correlated with compact, walkable communities — largely in cities but also in suburbs.

Intergenerational mobility vs. sprawl: Is there a connection?

To look more closely at the connection between mobility and sprawl, we compared the mobility rates to neighborhood Walk Scores. Our results lend support to Paul Krugman’s hypothesis.

The End of the Suburbs

If you're looking for one book that explains the transformation taking place in our cities, towns and neighborhoods it is Leigh Gallagher's new book The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving.

The new American Dream

Talk of the built environment, sprawl, and the suburbs was prominent in the media in the last week. As economist and The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued that spread-out metro areas decrease opportunities for economic mobility, a new book was released by Fortune editor Leigh Gallagher called The End of the Suburbs. The title is provocative and a huge overstatement — the suburbs aren't ending, but as Gallagher argued on talk shows and in articles: Suburbs are changing, and so is the American Dream. For a lot of people in previous generations, the dream was a house on a big lot in the suburbs. Now, for younger generations and for many Americans, the dream is a connected, walkable community — the kind you find in a more compact city or town. "The housing crisis of recent years has concealed something deeper and more profound happening to what we have come to know as American suburbia," she says. "Simply speaking, more and more Americans don’t want to live there anymore." The first-generation suburbs offered many advantages: tree-lined streets, soccer leagues, a center-hall Colonial house. "Today’s suburb is more likely to evoke endless sprawl, a punishing commute, and McMansions," she writes. The good news for suburbs is that they can adapt and become less auto-dependent. As others have said: the problem is not suburbia, but sprawl.

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