Comment 28224

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 15, 2009 at 14:37:01

Glenn,

Thank you for your comment. I think you misunderstand me: I'm not suggesting that people live in suburban areas because they somehow lack intuitive skills.

Rather, I'm suggesting that subsidizing suburban, car-dependent living through a variety of means - including fully-funded "free" roads and highways, "free" parking requirements, low-density single-use zoning, externalized costs of driving including pollution and health effects, subsidies for the oil industry, and so on - has created a demand for suburban living that is far higher than it would be if people had to pay the full costs of their choices.

In fact, it's only sensible that more people choose to live in car-dependent communities when the cost of owning and operating a car is subsidized. It's hardly insulting to suggest that someone would take advantage of a huge price incentive.

However, these structural subsidies have produced a living arrangement that is simply not sustainable. I'm not opposed to spending public money to incentivize desirable activities, but I must oppose spending that money on activities that are harmful - that destroy farmland, that consume non-renewable energy, that produce air pollution and greenhouse gases, and so on - especially when better alternatives exist and are in working display in cities all around the world.

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