Mark Oppenheimer of the Huffington Post writes in this article about a quandry he’s facing. He is considering writing a book about what makes some streets livable and others not. From what he’s read, he comes to the conclusion, “don’t depend on cars. People are happier when they can walk to see neighbors, ride their bicycles, and live close enough to their neighbors that they know them.” Having grown up in a small town, he admits his bias in that direction, but says that rural life has its pros as well. He asks the question of suburbia, “Can one have a happy childhood where there are no sidewalks, where it’s too dangerous to ride a bicycle, where there are no secret passageways behind garages or corner stores at which to buy candy?” I think most people are aware of the empirical evidence against suburbia: obesity, social challenges, car dependence, etc. What is interesting to me is that he says he can’t find any books that support this lifestyle. There are many books that support New Urbanism, but none that he could find against them. I have only found a handful of articles, not entire books, and those are by nuts like the Cato Institute. My opinion, of course, is that suburbia is an inferior product, but I’m sure there are those that would disagree with me.
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