Rachel Quednau busts four common myths about suburban sprawl, and makes the case for hard choices that can lead to sensible sprawl repair.
Myth #1: The suburbs exist because that’s the way people want to live.
Busted: The suburbs exist because that’s the style of development that has been regulated into existence and funded by governments across the nation.
Myth #2: Sprawl is the biggest problem with the suburbs.
Busted: The problem is a development pattern that is financially insolvent.
Myth #3: Suburban residents are paying for the cost of their lifestyle.
Busted: Across the country, we see that urban areas subsidize suburban living to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Myth #4: We can turn the suburbs into financially productive places if we just try our hardest.
Busted: No. There’s too much suburban development for this to ever happen.
With the painfully limited amount of resources we all have right now, we must make the hard choices about where to focus our efforts. We can take small steps to help older neighborhoods with a solid foundation to be more successful, or we can take herculean steps to push a few suburban neighborhoods in a slightly better direction, in spite of aggressive cultural opposition.
The Sprawl Repair Manual by Galina Tachieva offers numerous techniques to determine the most promising locations where targeted, incremental investment is likely to be successful.