The problem of suburbia, sprawl, and car culture in our country is a contentious and subjective one. Some people think it’s not a problem. Some people, like myself, think it’s a major problem, but are not quite sure what the solution is.
I could write a rambling rant many paragraphs long on this, but instead, here are two talks from scholars who have spent a lot of time and energy thinking about and researching these issues, and who explain the issues, and possible solutions, far more eloquently than I ever could.
In short: walkable downtowns organized around pedestrians, good. Vast expanses of underperforming asphalt, big box stores, and strip malls that are depressing, or at best uninspiring to look at, accessible only by car, and not by foot, bad.
On a related note, Transportation For America’s campaign “Dangerous by Design 2011” seeks to address and make more visible the extremely dangerous nature of the way our streets and cities are organized – organized around maximum efficiency for an automobile-centered lifestyle, and not around safety for pedestrians (let alone pleasantness of the urban environment and lifestyle outside of the car).
I look forward to finding more articles, videos, and talks on the subject, becoming more informed and more eloquent on the subject, and more to the point, I look forward to seeing some actual change begin to take place.