Thursday, October 26, 2017

Infinite Suburbia | Newgeography.com

Infinite Suburbia | Newgeography.com: "Global urbanization is heading toward infinite suburbia. Around the world, the vast majority of people are moving to cities not to inhabit their centers but to suburbanize their peripheries. Thus, when the United Nations projects the number of future "urban" residents, or when researchers quantify the amount of land that will soon be "urbanized," these figures largely reflect the unprecedented suburban expansion of global cities. By 2030, an estimated nearly half a million square miles (1.2 million square kilometers) of land worldwide will become urbanized, especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In the United States alone, an additional 85,000 square miles (220,000 square kilometers) of rural land will be urbanized between 2003 and 2030. Given that these figures represent the conversion of currently rural land at the urban fringe, these lands are slated to become future suburbias."

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Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link. Two comments:

First, what happened to all the predictions about the "death of suburbia"? Those predictions were largely predicated on transportation costs that were going to go sky-high when the oil ran out and gas became so expensive that the middle class couldn't afford to commute to work. But then telecommunications made it easier for more people to work from home, and fracking came along, and oil prices plummeted. Then there was the glut of suburban housing after the overbuilding that led to the crash of 2008. Now it appears that suburban living is quite popular, not only in the US, but in developing nations.

Second, will CIDs continue to predominate in the new housing that is appearing all over the world? I think so, based on a number of international conferences that I have attended. I think the trend toward privatization of local government will continue, and this means addressing some of the enduring challenges, such as paying for the maintenance and replacement of costly private infrastructure systems.

1 comment:

Deborah Goonan said...

I agree that suburbanization will continue, because most people want detached housing with some privacy and space between dwellings. I think Fred Pilot is correct that information technology makes it possible for certain professionals to work from anywhere, including from home or in shared office spaces close to home. I think that the arrival of driverless vehicles will transform housing and lifestyle choices, too, creating more lifestyle options for people.

But I do not think CIDs and privatization will continue to predominate the housing market, primarily because the governance model has a poor track record of maintaining infrastructure. Poor maintenance of commons directly contributes to declining environmental and public health, thus increasing tangible and intangible costs to the general public.

The biggest problem, as I see it, is that the CID cost shifting model ties collective financial liability directly to individual property rights, and creates artificial groups of people with diametrically opposed interests and world views. Consensus in this social environment is nearly impossible, and conflict is perpetual, creating political gridlock and ineffective governance and management. Abuse of power is inevitable given the emphasis on closely held corporate efficiency vs. quality of life and the greater good.