Friday, October 18, 2013

What Will Happen to the Suburbs as Cities Aim to be Healthy and Sustainable?

The End of Suburbs?(Urban Milwaukee, Sep. 26, 2013)

Also discussed here:Next Generation Suburbs(19 page pdf, David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, The Chief Planner Roundtable, Toronto, Apr. 2, 2013)

 Today we examine the future and viability of suburban areas that have grown in the last era of cheap oil and uncontrolled sprawl that has afflicted many cities since the end of World War 2. This period now seems to be coming to an end as the boomer generation which fed suburban growth wants to downsize and move to a residence closer to the urban core where a more attractive life style and conveniences awaits them. Property taxes in the suburbs which have been low compared to urban rates now will rise because of costs to renew the infrastructure are passed on to suburban residents. At the same time, the flood of commuters continue to bring traffic congestion and unhealthy air pollution with the vehicles to the urban core. A key aspect is the need to plan for transportation modes that encourage exercise (walking and cycling) to curb the obesity that comes from dependence on driving and the need for more greenspace in the urban cores.

obesity and exercise  

Key Quotes:

“cities growing because older suburbanites are trading in their large suburban homes for smaller city dwellings with less commuter traffic, more restaurants and cultural offerings, and greater ethnic and racial diversity. The luster has come off the suburban lifestyle that developed after World War II…and people are rediscovering their cities.”

“Boomers are downsizing and who is going to buy their McMansions?”

 “property taxes in suburbs are about to skyrocket. Originally suburban taxes were lower because developers put in all the roads, sewer and water lines. But as suburban infrastructure needs replacing, each street may have only a half dozen homeowners to bear the costs. A city block may have two or three times the number of homeowners to spread the costs.”

“A transportation system that prioritizes walking, cycling, affordable public transit and efficient transport of goods and services will promote health and reduce inequities
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