Suburbia - biggest ecological disaster in modern history

Edit: The reason this problem is connected to the dhamma is because

  1. We need a planet on witch to practice the dhamma
  2. Being efficient and saving a lot of money is important since buddhism is the most expensive religion in the west
  3. Not living in cities greately increases the distance from home to dhamma center. Many americans complain about long distances they need to drive to arrive at a dhamma center. The problem would be greatly reduced by living in cities.

Despite many americans being environmentalist, extremely few are aware about the biggest missalocation of human resources in modern times: building suburbia conglomerates instead of cities. USA and UK are the only countries in the world who do not have cities. Even in africa, people live in cities.

Being an environmentalist but not being aware about this problem is a little like having the biggest SUV available on the market and putting a “green peace” bumper sticker on it, while genuinely having no clue that the Suv might be a problem because nobody informed you. It is incredible to live in the only place on eath without cities, and have no idea about it.

I’ll post below the post from another thread about the problem + some related documentary and Ted talk.

What I would support in US right now is not pollution regulation, in witch US is leading the world. The problem of US and UK is being brutally energy inefficient because of having suburbia instead of cities. That is consuming at least 5 times more resources than a city. Only in US and UK the suburbia phenomenon developed because of some strange historical conditions. Everywhere else in the world people live in cities. US has only 2 cities (New York and Chicago)

It is strange to see nobody is doing anything about the elephant in the room while big parts of the population being environmentalist. I know there is a movement called Gentrification taking place, but that is something very small that will take like 1000 years to fix the problem by the pace it is going.

US petrol consumption per capita is something like 35 vs 8 in Europe mainly because of this problem. There is also extreme waste in terms of house heating and house construction materials. And it is proven that people are much more depressed in such an environment because of many reasons. People have lived in cities ever since antiquity, that is the natural mode of human habitation. The suburbia phenomenon happen due to a combination of a myriad of strange factors and historical conditions, it was not a natural development.

What point is there in reducing pollution by 1% through regulation on business, when you are wasting at least 5 times more resources and also polluting at least 5 times more due to being the only country in the world not having cities ?

There is a movement made out of urbanist and achitects in the US complaining about this problem and making documentaries about it, but the population is mostly unaware of it. They don’t realize US and UK are the only countries without cities on this whole round globe. It’s quite shocking to have such an obvious problem such as being the only place in the world without cities, but having no clue about it.

It appears there are numerous Ted talks on the issue witch I suggest watching on youtube. Besides being the most inefficient way of organizing a country living spaces, it also has big detrimental psychological effects. Human beings are wired to like certain type of places, they need the buildings to be placed at a particular distance from the street margins, etc. To say nothing about the isolation produced by not living in a city, witch is the nr 1 problem of living in suburbia. About this, I suggest reading articles and blogs of non-americans who lived in cities all their lives and then spent a couple of years living in a suburb.

The issue at stake is not only ecology but also economic development. An enormous amount of resources is wasted due to not having cities. The resources and efficiency gained by having cities instead of suburban conglomerations would benefit the whole population.

There are only 2 cities in US: New York and Chicago. And no, Washingon DC is not a city, though I have to admit it is a decent attempt.

Also, this is not a normal development of the free market. Free market leads to destruction of houses and low-rise buildings in favor of high-rise buildings witch produce much bigger profit. The suburbia development happened due to a lot of factors such as zoning laws, forced by lobbist with different interests + a combination of a lot of other strange historical conditions.

The “Great American Front Yard” alone is an ecological dead zone. Fields of fresh cut grass might as well be concrete.

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A suburban conglomerate covers at least 20 times more space than a city. The front yard is not helping in such a situation. This is actually causing loss in agricultural production. I suggest looking from above through google maps at Florida or the area around Manchester in UK. Almost half of the surface of Florida is suburbia. Then look at continental europe and see if you can find something like that anywhere. All that area would be natural area with forests and vegetation or at least farmland if they would have built normal high rise cities.

Also, cities do not have to look like dystopian concrete jungles. Most cities have a lot of vegetation, especially those build in the ex-communist part of the world. Most apartment blocks have huge gardens, there are lines of trees placed between the road and the sidewalk, there are big parks, playgrounds for children, etc.

Not to mention a front yard does not even have trees…