aknowledgeableperson wrote:If and when the economy turns around and true job growth happens again what will save the suburbs and/or the cities will be where the new jobs go. If the recent past is an indication most of that job growth will be in the suburbs. Which could lead to an interesting future, more people commuting from the cities to the burbs for work than what happens now.
I read an article a month or so ago that compared current or recent and possible future housing construction and materials to housing construction in the past. In some respects the past had an edge but in other respects what occurs now had the edge. In summary it was a wash, unless of course one values some items more than others.
I have no doubt that the vast majority of people want to live in the suburbs. I bought a house in the Houston burbs for a variety of reasons; schools, relatively close to my office (in the city would have been closer), schools, schools, etc... The amount of home building going on here is rather incredible for a recession, I've had two tires go flat in 6 months because of all the construction material in the roads.
That said, the suburban dream, whether it's Sugarland Texas or Johnson County, is simply unsustainable...it is and always will be entirely dependent on the availability of one particular kind of cheap fuel....oil. There is not and never will be a substitute for oil regardless of how much we would like to think otherwside. When it's gone or becomes too expensive for extravant usage, we will simply have to change our lifestyles. I do not think the suburbs are set up to ever be capable of the kind of dense living the future will require. I do not take any solace in the fact that consumption is down in the US. A quick check of the reality of situation would show that it's not down very much and crude oil is still in hot demand.....which is reflected in the price. Even when oil is 50$ per barrel instead of 150$ per barrel, we still are depleting resources at astonishing rates. The world uses 30 billion barrels per year, we replace probably a fifth or less of that with new discoveries. Even though there is a lot of oil still around, it will not be developed unless prices are very high and high prices are not good for sparsely settled burbs.