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Better sell your tri-level in the suburbs now

Via Slow Home, an interesting piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

We are witnessing the beginning of the end of sprawl. Like much of the rest of the country, the overproduction of automobile-driven suburban development at the fringe of the Atlanta metropolitan area has reached its limits. The combination of outrageous commutes, environmental degradation and the increasing number of consumers preferring a “walkable urban” way of life have combined to start the end of the geometric increase in land consumption of the past half century.

Christopher Leinberger is reprising his lengthier article for the Atlantic which came out back in March. His arguments make a lot of sense. When you combine high fuel prices, disillusionment with long commutes, and government policies that are dispersing violent crime from the inner city to the suburbs, it's hard not to think that the post-WWII migration to the suburbs may have started to reverse itself.

If this is correct, I don't think there's any doubt that this will be good for the country's urban centers. Philadelphia and Chicago, your decades-long decline may be over. It'll be good for the environment. Whether it'll be a good thing for our rural areas is not clear. The only losers will probably be property owners in the outer suburbs, which may turn into the slums of the the 21st century.


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