The Geography of Nowhere Follow-Up

Since I posted my thoughts on The Geography of Nowhere, CNN.com has posted two articles related to the topic.  The first is a Q&A with noted architectural historian Joseph Rykwert.  He answers questions that deal with the built environment and how it represents who we are as a society: citizen or consumer?  James Howard Kunstler would definitely classify us as consumers and sees such a classification as one of the major hurdles facing continued development.

The second article covers “walkable urbanism”, described in the piece as,

“both small communities and big cities characterized by efficient mass transit systems and high density developments enabling residents to walk virtually everywhere for everything — from home to work to restaurants to movie theaters”

This is the answer Kunstler seeks in Geography. Here are some interesting things to note from the article.

  • “Thirty-five percent of the nation’s wealth, according to Leinberger, has been invested in constructing this drivable suburban landscape.”
  • “Recent market research indicates that up to 40 percent of households surveyed in selected metropolitan areas want to live in walkable urban areas, said Leinberger.”
  • “The result is an oversupply of depreciating suburban housing and a pent-up demand for walkable urban space, which is unlikely to be met for a number of years. That’s mainly, according to Leinberger, because the built environment changes very slowly; and also because governmental policies and zoning laws are largely prohibitive to the construction of complicated high-density developments.”

Check out the entire text of both pieces:

Do we want to be citizens or customer?

Is America’s suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare?

So maybe change is in the air.  With increasing concerns about the environment, energy, and health its great to see my generation taking a stand and creating change.  I know things don’t happen over night, but we’re at least a decade behind, so we need to hit the turbo and speed things up.

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