What began as a harmless attempt by the wealthy to escape the poor peasants they were forced to rub shoulders with in the cities turned into the greatest infrastructural nightmare ever to be unleashed upon this world: the American suburb. Countless people and generations of their progeny who got swept up in the fervor of suburban sprawl experienced a radical shift in physical space that has left communities in shambles or precluded their existence and paved over much of the land we should have conserved for agricultural use. Economically, what began as a financial shot of adrenaline to kickstart the post-war economy has now culminated in a ticking time bomb of unpaid infrastructure and health liabilities threatening to bankrupt municipalities throughout the country. If that wasn't enough, sprawl is an ecological and environmental disaster that contributes more to climate change than any other development pattern.
We can trace some of these consequences to the early foundation of property law in the United States, as well as a handful of powerful men destined to drive a stake in public transportation and influence generations of engineers and city planners. More importantly, we can rant and rave for two hours about how much we hate the suburbs.
(This transcript sucks - it's automatically generated. We'll fix it soon!)
[0:07] I'm David Torcivia.
[0:09] Daniel Forkner.
[0:11] And this is Ashes Ashes a show about systemic issues, cracks and civilization, collapse of the environment, and if we're unlucky the end of the world.
[0:21] But if we learn from all of this, maybe we can stop that. The world might be broken, but it doesn't have to be.
[0:35] The mobility that Americans prize so highly is the final ingredient in the debasement of housing. The freedom to pick up and move is a premise of the national experience it is the physical expression of the freedom to move upward socially the automobile allowed this expression to be carried too absurd extreme. Our obsession with Mobility the urge to move on every few years stands at odds with the wish to endure in a beloved place. And no place can be worthy of that kind of deep love if we are willing to abandon it on short notice for a few extra dollars. Rather we choose to live in no place and our dwelling show it. In every corner of the nation we have built places Unworthy of love and move on from them without regret but move on to what. Where is the ultimate destination when every place is no place. That's an excerpt from a book titled the geography of nowhere the rise and decline of America's man-made landscape by James Kunstler, and we'll be reading a couple excerpt from it as we go through a little historical Suburban landscape they were going to take a drive down. Memory Lane if you will.
[1:56] 12 minutes episode of Arby's at this point with that quote and with the title of this episode whatever that is, that we are today talkin about suburbs a place that many of us grew up here in the United States but increasingly around the world as well. And that is where a lot of people spend most of their lives, and it sort of something interesting to me that I think about with suburbs is that these are extremely design so if you're in Europe or something and you grow up in a city you know that city has been there for, hundreds of years and it's sort of an evolved organism that ended up that way if we ignore you know periodically building attempts like what happened in Paris or after rebuilding from World War II whatever bear with me for it for the sake of this example. But suburbs by and large are a fairly recent invention and even beyond that, suburbs are constantly being built all around this country and increasingly are fun places and they are very deliberately designed in order to create them as that image that we all see in our head when we say the suburbs. And to me that's kind of weird.
[3:04] What do you mean why is it weird David.
[3:06] So we are building these places to live from scratch and I mean it's a lot of work to build a new place is a lot of work to build a town it's a lot of work to move all these resources the energy that money and, it's strange in my eyes at least that we decided to design them in the way that a suburb is I mean play with me for just a second YouTube channel.
[3:26] Alright okay.
[3:27] I want you to close your eyes and I promised everyone I can't see Daniel either but I assume he's closing his eyes. And I want.
[3:38] Unless unless you're driving Don't Close Your Eyes if you're driving.
[3:41] Don't Close Your Eyes if you're driving that's that's good for flying a plane or maybe not flying up your land.
[3:46] You could probably get away with it for like 30 seconds or so.
[3:52] Okay well the close your eyes if it's safe so we don't get sued okay so everyone can close your eyes if it's safe and then I want you to imagine in your head. The perfect place to live like if there was no question of of money or resources are jobs or family or what is your ideal place to live look like. Share with me or Daniel what is your ideal place to live look like.
[4:19] So I don't know how realistic this is but I'm imagining.
[4:24] I swear to God if you say Zeppelin.
[4:26] Well that's that's part of the public transportation Network that that's in my head but my residence is near river perhaps he waterfalls not far away, a bunch of other clustered homes around where I live but they all like revolve around some kind of central place. We hot we all have like a some small farms in our backyard that kind of feed everybody and then right there maybe like 20 minute walk from us as a train station that, we can get on an hour later when this night modern Mega City Metropolis with, basically everything your heart could desire ice cream and other things like that.
[5:09] Tea that you can make ice cream yourself on your farm it's not too hard.
[5:13] No I don't have towels on my phone no.
[5:15] No cows can you make ice cream from goat milk.
[5:19] I've never tried that.
[5:21] Is somebody rytas let us know if that sting or if it's good it's a very picturesque very typical sword imagination.
[5:30] Oh yes and of course if you climb to the top of the waterfall you are greeted by a man or woman.
[5:37] Or person. Will lead you into a door that is the carriage base of a giant Zeppelin that takes you anywhere you want to go it's it's it's it's it's a zeppelin pirate Army David.
[5:52] Okay good this place look it up I will move into your little Community all your little village I think it's a word I would actually use to describe it ended that actually is a very similar description minus the Zeppelin capital in NBA, maybe not even the mega City train put up a Villages all around the world of farming communities of rural communities and that word Community I think it's really important, but that's not for whatever reason that we keep building Wiki building and I don't think anyone pictures this but rows and rows of, identical houses that are set apart from each other at very awkward distances it's not far enough to feel like you have some sort of solitude it's not close enough to feel like you have a homogeneous community, instead it this fake separation designed to maximize the value of whatever lot that this is all police depart, I think to intensify The Lawns that are going on in this episode I promise I won't turn into a two-hour-long long rant as much as I want to do that, but no one would imagine there's no one imagined a gate of your community preventing other people from getting along no Would Imagine a place we have to drive 20 to 30 minutes in order to do simple errands, no one imagined places where nobody is outside nobody's communicating with anybody else nobody's out walking or or doing errands or whatever it is unless they have to for their dog whatever.
[7:13] Increasingly this horrible image of a place where everybody is cut off from each other where we for some reason intentionally designed isolation into being a future, and then paid huge amounts of money for it is increasingly what we're building around this country.
[7:30] Because the United States has a two large cultural impact around the world we're starting to see this spread is sickness in all sorts of countries around the world and that is terrifying so today I really want to examine where does this come from why does this happen here, and why does this continue to be a blight on the land instead of something that we've looked at like well that was a failed experiment I'll let's let's make something better.
[7:52] Yeah I think is give other countries are modeling the tract housing that the developers in the United States have perfected that could be quite possibly the worst thing we've ever exported not including. Militarisation but I think this is a great thing to explore and I want to go through a little bit of the back history, the kind of maybe give us a clue of one of those questions you ask date of like how we got here but I want just lay out like a very simple framework of, what I would I would describe the chief complaints of what Suburban lifestyle has become in the United States. It's a way of living that first and foremost most any American can relate to, how many Americans live in a Suburban landscape currently or have passed through one or know what to picture when we say suburban sprawl. And it's now been is it's become so normalized that it's largely taken for granted as just a normal way of life.
[8:54] It has destroyed communities like you talked about and really destroyed a general sense of place, buildings of different uses like schools offices homes and stores have been dispersed from one another and left with no coherent relationship to one another while National corporations taking advantage of people, increasing Reliance at this point cemented Reliance on automobiles has uprooted and eroded local economies that were once made up of locals who reinvested their earnings into their community. Suburban lifestyle has destroyed much of our Agricultural and which we need if we're going to survive the coming fall of industrial food production. This way of life is currently bankrupting our Municipal budgets and economy Across the Nation we simply cannot afford it, there are countless Health consequences of the Suburban way of life slowly killing everybody. And unfortunately because it's been taken for granted an alternate way of living has largely been forgotten by whole Generations who, I've grown up their entire lives within the framework of suburban live.
[9:59] This is a point I think is really interesting and something I'm going to dress later on this episode with a reminds me of things we talked about before Daniel on the show I'm a silly in terms of the way people live but in what's lost ecologically speak, whereas every single generation sees the world get a little bit worse environmentally speaking anyway. And the vast multitude of life and the amazing images and wonder and amazement that they would provide The Travelers of the world have been increasingly lost No One Alive anymore members in the herds of Buffalo, No One Alive has ever seen Cod schools so thick that ships can go through them. Sky's full of birds that block out the sun these things are gone they lost and because they've been lost each generation doesn't know what they're missing out on, and it's interesting now that we're sort of moving into this not just in in environmental questions but in the way that we live these cultures and traditions that were so important that were fostered over hundreds, thousands of years that learned experience of what works and what doesn't have been thrown away because the technological innovations that we said Warren Improvement and work recently realizing, or exactly the opposite of that.
[11:13] Yeah and we talked about that tragic loss of species that we forgotten in episode 34 Irreplaceable, but let's jump into a little history David all that you know you gave me a great history lesson in that episode on intellectual property and and the one on maps and things like that so, let me give you a little history lesson here okay. So as it as we talked about elsewhere land ownership in Europe under traditional English law followed a feudal relationship that is the crown technically owned all the land, the feudal overlords had control over some of that land, and within that the overlord granted fiefs or small property rights like the ability to live on the land to vassal you can also think of them as just poor peasants. Those peasants were expected to provide the overlord with several things in exchange for their thieves like military service portions of their crop yield, they're wise on their wedding. You know that typically Fair exchange is for living on the land ride.
[12:20] When settlers came to the new world to set up their town they did so in large part to escape Direct Control of the crown in tooth, live out very passionate individualistic values, and so once the colonists sever ties with the English Monarchy After the Revolutionary War property law in the United States was built on the foundation of a different model of property ownership.
[12:45] Known as fee simple the word fee is derived from feudalism, and the fact that peasant held land in fealty and the word simple describe the fact that property rights are transferred or control with no obligation to anyone else, once the cash has been worked over and so with the exception of things like property taxes, conditionality is that can arise from deed restrictions and the selling off of particular property rights like the mineral rights underneath you for the most part owning land in the United States was very simple, if you paid for it and someone transfer the property to you you owned it forever and ever, you could do with it whatever you like and no one could require you to give up your wife or crop yield as a condition to holding that property. Edit in this is important to the eventual development of suburbs because the very Foundation of property ownership in America became enshrined around the idea that individuals had, not just the right to do whatever they please with their land, but that they had the right to profit economically from their land as a source of Perpetual capital accumulation.
[13:59] For example one of the other English laws that got a ballast was the ability for a landowner to prevent the sale of his or her Land by their descendants after their death and this was really radical at the time for several reasons, most significantly it eliminated the idea of common land. Despite the exploitative relationship that existed between feudal over lord and vassal.
[14:24] Who are the process of enclosure there existed a great deal of land in Europe, it was considered common property for all and something to be used as fears of public life it was used for communities to gather to share resources to sing in to dance into, dying together all these good things right, under the American system this simply did not exist land does not something that has any social or communal value under the American system. Only valuable in so much as its owner can derive profit for himself so if you order happens to own a forest. Everyone around them could benefit from but the owner could make some money clearing it and selling it off there's nothing to stop them from doing so. Another radical transformation that this entailed is it enabled land to become a means of the natural speculation because it was now possible to purchase huge tracts of land subdivided into smaller parcels, and sell them off for profit at a greater value than the total hole that was originally invested.
[15:31] That's a lot of good points there Daniel and I also read some of this book and I have his quote mark down here that I think is relevant and it is related to the sort of Distinction they are talking about with a European way of seeing things, cities towns whatever and the Very American individualistic way that emerge from this modification of his long-held rule sub. The great cities of Europe long a building where at once Sitters of political commercial, ecclesiastical and military power and they showed not just in their finely grind Urban fabrics and plazas for courts Esplanade, and galleries what in the overarching Civic Consciousness with which building and spaces or tie together as an organic whole, reflecting the idea of civilization as a spiritual Enterprise in contrast American cities florist almost solely as centers of business. Business required was offices factories housing for workers and little else the use of the space itself, of the real estate was a foregone conclusion maximized building lot.
[16:42] Yeah I feel like that's a foreshadow of what you were talking about earlier David of the speed disregard for community and, play the way like our physical Place comes together to enable the type of village that I described in my eyes closed fantasy right.
[16:59] Well to be fair American cities suburbs towns are really designed with several things in mind in and built around them in an exceptionally great way but what those things are might not be what you expect and I'll talk about that a little bit.
[17:14] Oh I can't wait David I kind of want to just like skip my history part and I just get to your.
[17:20] Spoiler for you keep going.
[17:26] Yeah okay so cities you know we're designed this way but similarly we hear about the great settling of the West in the United States and there was a huge effort by our government to mobilize the great masses to actually do that settling in the west and Midwest, and the way they did that is they effectively took a nap through Straight Lines I've been down at the Forum squares and then divvydose squares out to anyone that wanted one, and from a bureaucratic perspective this was possibly the most efficient and seamless way to divvy up the land but, he certainly didn't leave much consideration for public spaces or any other type of planned communities right but speaking of planned communities. I want to just briefly mention the very first Suburban communities in America, because you might imagine living in one of those American cities you describe was pretty oppressive right with worker housing built right next to dirty factories, you know horses going up and down the streets excreting waste everywhere and just like dying all over the place.
[18:27] Does horses flopping down in the ground people like trying to go to get some build their horse sorry honey the horse died on the way to work today.
[18:37] This is something people don't think about but it's true in New York City as many as forty horses died on the street every single day. That's not something that a lot of people wanted necessarily to be around all the time right and of course the wealthy one is an escaped and they have the means to do so, and they found that escaped in the form of the very first planned Suburban communities, Duchess Llewellyn Park in New Jersey and Riverside just outside Chicago Llewellyn Park was finishing 1855 it covered a few hundred acres. Home surrounded by a huge 20-acre would it lie to his beautiful landscaping it was just 12 miles outside New York City by train, which was an easy commute to and from work or the wealthy businessman looking to escape the very air that the factory he owned.
[19:28] And that's a point I want to come back to but he go iamjada.
[19:32] Yeah. That down and notable Titan of Industry Thomas Edison was one of the early inhabitants of Llewellyn Park.
[19:40] Notable asshole, so what is it with all these like self-proclaimed Heroes of humanity inventors and Visionaries being just like total assholes and and kind of crooks we don't need another Elon Musk keep going.
[19:54] Elon Musk David he's a great guy you know that one of the pioneers of. Shortly after the Wetland Park came Riverside again right outside Chicago this is only 9 minutes away from downtown by train was built in 1869 on 1500 Acres, also designed for walkability each home was less than a 10-minute walk from the train station. There are some notable differences between the Suburban communities of the early wealthy Elite and the ones we see today. First and foremost they were getaways for the rich the houses themselves functioned like factories of comfort. Armies of service required to maintain the stable of horses prepare the food produced the food since there were no supermarkets they actually had to have their own cows in the backyard and write their own home gardens, the other roads were often designed deliberately to invite walking with beautiful shrubs and plant trees and.
[20:58] Points at Great statues or fountains to provide a sense of destination and arrival as you went about the community, the modern Suburban road today however is designed specifically to move cars about as efficiently as possible at speeds greater than 30 miles per hour for that reason they are quite hostile to The Pedestrian, most Suburban communities today don't even have sidewalks today yeah. And of course another great difference between these communities is that before the rise of the automobile all suburbs were designed around a form of public transportation that could funnel people quickly in and out of the city where they ultimately work.
[21:39] Obviously this is a point will come back to you that's not at all the case today. But you know that there were some similarities however in the wealthy Suburban communities and the ones we have today David. They really do function to serve as a part of this great industrial assembly line if you will. And ultimately to make the developer Rich here's an excerpt from the book quote. There was a reason that suburbs like Riverside didn't develop proper Civic centers they were not Civic places. That is they were not town they were real estate Ventures lint an aura a permanent by the way of historical architecture and picturesque Landscaping, they have not developed organically overtime and they lacked many Civic institutions they can only develop over time. They were a rapid response to a closer link chain of industrial Innovations steam powered railroads and the factory system.
[22:37] More these suburbs were a refuge from the evil consequences of those Innovations from the smoke the filth the noise the crowding the human misery. Built for those who benefited from industrial activities and quote and I guess what I mean when I say that I should barbecue music today kind of, are part of a great industrial assembly line of our economy is again because they're not real places they're not authentic spaces right there they don't have any function other than to funnel people into their sites of work, they don't produce food, they don't generate anything of value except the a place for someone to rest their head at night mean while taking up all the land that we could use for something better and spacing themselves out so far that we really I can't even afford a big bubble but we'll come back to that.
[23:28] That famous phrase I think there's one thing that we do need to mention here Daniel but I really don't want to go too deep to this topic, but it absolutely is critical to the story and that is house construction and the innovations that made mass-scale tract Housing Development possible. I mean it used to be extremely expensive to build a house, support beams were these huge logs and he does 30 columns and in fact iron Nails which is something we take for granted now they were so expensive than the first half of the nineteenth Century new englanders would actually dismantle the interior of farm houses, just so they could take the nails with them to Ohio or where else do they play. But in Chicago Builders had created a new Innovative building method using these thin wooden studs to quickly frame a house using just hammer and nails. But then of course in 1871 and enormous fire wiped out 17000 wooden buildings in Chicago prompting a new law prohibiting wooden construction the city.
[24:27] That's that's so smart.
[24:29] The smart LOL okay well all the newly d'place working people who could not afford the new more expensive housing the city had to construct in order to replace all these lost homes, well they were pushed to the outskirts of the city, where a wave of specular developers had cleverly built thousands and thousands of monotonous cheap wooden homes on these tiny Lots, and this trend wasn't you need to Chicago at this point but the real outskirts of mini series at this point. Or being gobbled up by developers realize that they could start offering the cheap suburban homes and make a tidy profit.
[25:04] Yeah that's all good and well David building construction whatever World War 1 comes then the Great Depression and then World War II. And everything everything changed all the great architectural tradition of of Building Construction was pretty much swept under the rug. This was a new era or America are factories were bursting at the seams with industrial capacity, and as we discussed an episode 11 designing deception, the entire economy was reoriented to encourage consumer demand or whatever pointless junk those factories could produce whatever kept them turning out good right. But of course at this time the United States sits atop the global economy having built up its industrial capacity during the wars while suffering none of the consequences of like actual bombs you know. Destroying your infrastructure, so we were in a pretty good economic spot we let the money for other countries to buy our exports and then we turned around and use the economic growth that we experienced to fuel the greatest infrastructural expansion. The world had ever seen.
[26:15] What are the most important parts of this was that we started subsidizing home ownership by making mortgage payments tax deductible, and then the government made these generous government backed loans which made it possible to own a home without even making a down payment. And this was all to kick off the economy to keep things going after the war economy slow down and to give something for those DIYs when they were coming back to buy into.
[26:40] What not to mention David you know all these factories right think they were producing so much stuff they were literally bursting at the seams like I mentioned and what better way to get Americans to buy more and more junk, by basically getting them to take on debt to purchase a. Box where they could put all that stuff right I mean toasters vacuum cleaners cribs for their babies right I mean all kinds of stuff.
[27:05] You still got that toaster diction going on 1 weeks. All these white blue collar workers that came back from the war they fled the cities and for the first time as we talked about in that lawn Rand they felt like Little Lords. They have their own tiny versions of those early Rich mansions in places like the Welling, on the outskirts of town well developers like William Levitt put up as many as a hundred fifty prefabricated houses a day to Phyllis demand so we're taking the lessons learned end the war economy this production directing things like Edward Bernays talked about in there episode about him with the being able to develop, the need for consumer in order to make this excess industrial capacity actually produced things that can be profitable and and we taking these lessons and apply them not just to Consumer products, but Holmes The Very things that will enclose these consumers and give them places to put all the stuff that we want them to buy.
[28:03] Exactly let me read you a quote David that probably sums it up better than you are especially I could so.
[28:12] Are you insulting my rambling.
[28:14] David there's no there's no rambling of yours that would possibly be found in a coherent book anywhere on this planet.
[28:21] Go ahead give us give us something.
[28:26] Quote. The American dream of a cottage on its own sacred plot of Earth was finally the only economically rational Choice by the time the merchant Builders like Lovett and his Kindred Spirits got through packaging it however, it was like a dream than a cruel parody. The place where the Dreamhouse stood a subdivision of many other identical dream houses was neither of the country nor the city. It was no place if anything it combined the worst social elements of the city and Country and none of the best elements. As in the real country everything was spread out and hard to get to without a car. There were no cultural institutions and yet like this. I don't know if I would say the country has no cultural Institute anyway and yet like the city the suburb afforded No Escape from other people into nature, except for some trees and shrubs nature have been obliterated by the Relentless blocks of houses. But whatever its shortcomings as a place to live the Suburban subdivision was unquestionably a successful product, for many it was a vast improvement over what they were used to, the main problem with it was that it dispensed with all the traditional connections and continuities of community life and replaced them with little more than cars and television.
[29:49] I think we're wasting everybody's time here. Well we all know that the real conversation happened we're talkin about suburbs when we're talkin about surprised it's not these things like mortgages or zoning or at least boring topics.
[30:05] David are you saying the concept of a mortgage just isn't roomy enough for you are you saying that zoning laws just move a little too slow for you I mean what what are you saying here.
[30:14] I'm saying Daniel that I want a 4-door three-row SUV with all the features give me 8 cylinders of gas-guzzling joy, towing hitch said I'll never use and a big-ass sunroof that I can open up once and then never touch again I'm talking about the automobile, Daniel the key that makes everything else, horrible and possible in the suburbs this is the American Tail and we talked about this a lot I know we're always alluding to this eventual show on cars and we will, absolutely do it because I hate themselves.
[30:51] Ashes ashes car show is half black.
[30:55] Except will actually make it one day be it'll be the last episode of where we get to the car show you know this this series is over. I'm not going to get into it but cars the automobile absolutely is the key Cornerstone or if you will the Keystone of this suburban sprawl conversation.
[31:15] I mean we could say a lot about the interstate highway system right. Tons and tons of concrete enough concrete for a hundred cities we poured in a single year as we constructed this massive highway system that radically reshaped physical space everywhere in the United States, that's probably for its own show one thing that definitely happened during this times we killed off the street cars and other public forms of transportation.
[31:43] You know this happened like literally two blocks from me no not recently back when Robert Moses came in and then decided to rebuild. New York as a Interstate based system and I know this episode song about cities it's about suburbs but this happen everywhere and go two blocks up for me, into Queens, there is a street there that used to have a local streetcar system and in fact there been doing road work on this street and selling new sewage pipes or a water mains or whatever, so they've cut into the road the middle of it dude and you can actually still see the tracks are still there. But you can see the tracks there just been covered over and asphalt didn't even bother removing them the cobblestones are there in the street, streetcar tracks are there in there's a spell poured on top of that that is now a busy street and if you keep walking down the street you can actually see the trolley house is where. The trolley cars used to be stored, at the end of the sign right there on the onderdonk line and and there now garages this is the legacy of what was once a very efficient, very important connecting system it is now a pile of rust under asphalt that is continuously ripped out and repaved for reasons that I can't understand.
[32:57] What it might not make sense from like like what would actually make sense because nothing and in terms of the American infrastructure makes sense David but there is like a conspiracy that General Motors controlling a different company, bought a bunch of streetcar companies and intentionally ran them into the ground to promote its cars and products and all that, that is true they did do that they were probably only involved in about 10% of the street car companies that failed however, and perhaps one of the bigger problems was that the government was so heavily subsidized in the Auto industry, that they really the streetcars really couldn't compete having to run as private entities they had $0.05 fare ceilings and all types of things I had to deal with, but not to get super deep into that again it'll be a don't show but you mentioned Robert Moses David, he was perhaps the most infamous developer in American history used his authority presiding over quasi-governmental bodies that were totally divorced from public scrutiny to build mass of Highway systems like you mentioned.
[34:00] One of the things he did when he built these highways is that he removed the possibility of railroads ever being integrated with them, even though it would have been no additional cost to him he just hated public transportation so much that you wanted to ensure that no one would ever be able to put railroads on the highways that he built, and Moses most definitely influenced thousands of city planners and Engineers who came after him who have collectively reduced much of the decisions around zoning, building requirement in Road design to a few technical considerations that are packaged, Soulja municipalities across the country which they just wholesale employee outlawing to you to the more traditional forms of, buildings that kind of incorporate the town community feel, and of course they largely reduce road construction to the simple math of how do you move cars as efficiently and quickly as possible with no consideration for how any other stakeholder might interact with those roads.
[35:02] I want to talk about in a second but this this talking about Robert Moses one of my mortal enemies of History just gave me an idea and I I decided to see where he was buried. And he's up in the Bronx actually at Woodlawn Cemetery so I might go pay his grave a visit, and leave a piece of my mind there if anybody anybody else wants to and yeah baby New York. Pop-up tub to the Bronx at 233rd Street and that you can go visit Robert Moses.
[35:34] I can't imagine what a piece of your mind might look like David but I wish you the best of luck on that.
[35:39] Whatever helps me sleep at night I guess wait what are we talking about here.
[35:45] Suburban sprawl.
[35:46] UPS Pro okay well I just want to actually hit the pause button here Daniel because I've been rambling all over your telephone those episodes but.
[35:54] You could have said hit the brakes but you said hit the pause by.
[35:57] Whatever hit the hit the pause button we're done with automobiles I want to talk about you know, what is Sproul we keep using this term to keep talking about it because when we talk about suburbs is a bad thing and if you haven't already figured out that's what we're doing, it doesn't necessarily have to be that that way of like a suburb as a concept is is housing lower density housing outside of the city whatever, that doesn't have to be innately a terrible thing you can have some really great amazing communities towns Villages developments that are designed to. Create a positive atmosphere a positive way of life that can be environmentally sustainable whatever all this is possible, but so much the time it's designed not to be for a variety of reasons to live in coded in law some of them being namik drivers and some of them being just dumb traditions in choices and whatever.
[36:47] The real problem of all of this of this horror that the suburbs are for so many people who grow up in it or have to drive through it or, how to deal with it in any way shape or form and and yes if you live in United States you absolutely are dealing with it because of mine said it creates and once again I'll get into but it is this process so there are five components that you need in order to create, the sprawl that we seen the suburbs and so the first one is subdivisions, okay so these are the Living Spaces in a traditional City you have Apartments you have townhouses condos whatever and they're all very close to each other they flow naturally from one to another but the subdivision is something that is much more control.
[37:28] And there is no logic to subdivision, are you coming and the streets split off and on switch two different directions and they don't make any sense they don't follow natural geography they don't follow any sort of grid pattern and it's just like, Jackson Pollock, still over a topographic map dribbled some stuff and the developer was like looks like a cool Road we're good to go and he leaves you, cut off from everything else so you could be backing up to a store or a friend's house in another subdivision of whatever but odds are there's probably huge fence that divides you some sort of design that it was meant to subdivide the section off from the rest of the community and the only way in or out is one or two entrances on Tremaine connecting Road.
[38:19] So this is a really key component of the sprawl because it ensures that at and this is partially because of zoning laws that are single use as well as the desire for a developer to create something that is seen end up purchasers eyes as, a valuable investment in this is another component of reinsurance disaster that was you today we're for some reason real estate has become the predominant form of the desperate for middle class individuals.
[38:47] That is kejuan I'm done. They're the subdivision okay well if you have somewhere to live the next thing you need is somewhere to shop. And that is the second important part of this and this is malls and strip malls in these things are open till 3 Lee recently really unique. To the suburbs and especially indicative of sprawl so the strip mall is the ugliest form of this, a manifestation where you might be driving through a beautiful Farm country and then you see in the distance a bunch of sign sticking up above the road letting you know there's a bunch of places to shop to eat whatever. And next thing you know and as you pull up to this the signs it's just endless lines of low flat concrete. Don't have any sort of relation to the environment around them they're just stuck here dropped in from wherever and are invariably a line of chain restaurants you could recognize anywhere in the world and it feels like you're everywhere else at once that you're pulled out of the natural environment that you should be in and are said In This Very sterile designed place.
[39:52] People didn't like these a whole lot better than they started at building malls where they say okay what we can bring people to these places, and let them walk around inside and have a much more enjoyable experience and if you see one store next to another, are more likely to purchase things on the way to whatever the anchor stores at the trying to go isn't it could spur the economic opportunities of all these emergency one place and I think it's a really interesting idea because it's sort of admits, what we've already known works well in cities and and well planned communities which is that when people walk when you get in public spaces to hang out you spur economic activity. But we we done this in like a weird, cut off way that is uniquely Suburban an individualized and and I think very indicative of this larger culture and the blight that we see and that's maybe is why we have some of these malls just literally sitting as like today, as people's purchasing habits have changed. These two components strip malls in malls are the number two important part of the suburban sprawl so this is shop. So you have a place to live place to shop you have to drive from one to the other because, you would never want to have them all fixed your house that would lower your property value so already you know you're driving 20 30 minutes to get there and you got to Park walk in and come back in your car or driver. Meanwhile I in New York City just pop down the street I get what I want it pop upstairs I'm done easy no stress.
[41:19] Well you still need a place to work and so for lot of the suburbs is a place of Refuge outside the city and commute to the city to do that.
[41:27] Increasingly India first emergence of the suburbs employers started chasing their employees as they move farther and farther out in large part because, upper management didn't want to have to drive very far everyday so they found if they could build their headquarters in the Suburban locations it is their commute and it would give their employees to be happier because they don't have to drive as far. The rent was lower and it seemed like a great option for everybody so this led to the creation of Sparks, he's buried dead boring places of concrete massive parking lots and low-rise buildings maybe one story for warehouse types office Parks 2454 larger buildings. A look at a place like an amalgamation between the Suburban strip malls at trying to be something taller like you might find it a city but they can't build and tall, like you would find in a city because it looks entirely out of place so you get architectural with air disasters aesthetically they're hideous and more importantly once again you found yourself subdividing cutoff from these other areas, because zoning regulations require you to build things for single-use typically and area will be zoned for business, an area will be zoned for shopping in area will be zoned for letting these things very rarely intermingle up until at least, a white scale. Recently there's been a transition we'll talk about that but so you have this Office Park.
[42:48] And because it is Iceland if everything else and makes very simple tasks difficult to say I'm working there I decide I didn't bring my lunch today I don't want what's in the cafeteria if there is a cafeteria so going to go out to eat I've got an hour to do that.
[43:01] Oh no a bunch of other people have the same thing we're all competing against each other in the parking lot or try to get out of the parking lot I got to rush over to wherever, go to the drive-thru pick it up real quick maybe I get there maybe even my car on the way back I'm like driving competing trying to get in and I'm trying to battle for parking spaces stressful, it's exhausting and I think those words are the like fairy, strong defining words of the Suburban experience this constant frustration with a driving and babbling you have to do in order to do anything. In a traditional community-based neighborhood or city is it's just a matter of walking outside walking a few minutes and then getting done very quickly, I'm getting ahead of myself so whatever that is a business park that's Point number three a place to work.
[43:49] Point number for is the Civil institution these are the things you need in order to make this, a larger suburb function this is your city hall this is your police station this is your school these things are usually designed in a more traditional setting their said often will landscape they usually have some limited sort of public space but often times once again at their way out of the way so you have to drive it so even though there is public space there at the school at this, a courthouse whatever it's not something you can easily access you have to drive to this location, park your car utilize the public space then get back in your car and drive home and so therefore these public space is traditionally go on used, and it has been one of the driving forces of the revitalization now of small towns Across America who trying to move away from this single zoning method in and multi-zone their properties where you'll see these Town squares design, are the courthouses the center position and they build a bunch of new developments that are mixed work, living facilities around it we have on the ground shops restaurants above those apartments, and everybody can actually participate in the community have everything there without having to happen to a car and you can very quickly see why that might be more, appealing then what we built instead and the thing that connects all of this is the fifth and most important part of the sprawl and that is roadways.
[45:11] Oh boy Daniel roadways Americans built a phenomenal amount of Roads. Is it more than twice per capita basically anywhere else on Earth.
[45:21] Asphalt roads Highway roads Interstate Road.
[45:25] Boulevard's connecting roads.
[45:28] One-way roads two-way roads.
[45:31] Roads everywhere that if I had to Define my Suburban experience growing up in the suburbs it's it's it's a story of Rhodes. And Roads that like you like you mentioned earlier are not pedestrian-friendly if they have a sidewalk at all but usually small it's usually never been walked on by people so it's off and overgrown and it. Stop by whenever landscape companies in Empire didn't for some reason people yell at you when they drive by there like what are you doing get out there till like Chris's you or throw stuff I don't know I was had this anymore. Maybe it was just me but. Angry that you're walking or we're to me I would have people stopped and asked me hey are you okay you need a ride home you like I'm literally just walking to my friends house. It's not like a weird thing to be walking outside but in the suburbs it is, and it necessitates that you own a car in order to participate in this process and in order to live in the spaces, NFL amazing things about suburbs and the sprawl is that it requires a large investment of you as an individual in order to maintain the style of life that is ultimately incredibly understanding.
[46:37] But all these roads all this distance has these compounding effects of one of them is as I mentioned that you must own a car and this is one of the major segregating forces, of establishing and we didn't really address it but part of the initial, flight and that is often the word used to the suburbs from the cities was one of racial discrimination where people were afraid of inner-city minorities of crime that they perceived as occurring in those places. Wanted to flee to what were initially white refugees places that they could afford and it could basically fortify, from these unwanted people via their increased economic Mobility, you would have to be able to afford a car often times two cars as time went on and and women start ignoring the workforce a much larger numbers in order to even exist in these places because they're often times are no public transportation options at all, and like we mentioned if you want to do anything you have to drive to go to that place because the enforcement of the zoning laws so this is what I was talking about earlier we're some of this bra is literally design into the code that we write, and make law where it's illegal to build things that makes sense from a community or walking perspective.
[47:55] When in your imaginary Town Daniel you had. House is all around and they were providing for each other and maybe more utopian cuz everyone is a farm here but there was a corner store or general store or something like that. Maybe a restaurant in your vision of the world you would be able to walk to that you would have to drive today.
[48:15] Or be on the first floor of my little downtown condo.
[48:22] On the upper deck of your Zeppelin or behind the waterfall or whatever point is is it's accessible on foot, even your train station is a 20 minute walk but still something extremely doable by an individual who doesn't really happen the car head-on and cars are expensive, yes you have initial purchase but also the upkeep and maintenance the gasoline the insurance always things add up, and I mean decades ago I don't have enough current number it was estimated that only a very small affordable car like a Ford Focus, and usually cost about $6,000 a year and often times in the suburbs it's not just one cards to or if you have children is three or four, so let us have two cars at $12,000 annually in 5 years you spent $60,000 on cars in order to live in this place I mean that's a down payment on a home that's a down payment on an apartment in a city where you can forgo all this stuff, this is a very intentional decision to live in these places that we initially look at is a good deal when we start breaking down the math it really is it, and it doesn't carry just to the homeowners but also the municipalities and sells what you've alluded to Daniel and we talked about in the show but suburbs are really fucking expensive in order to operate and create.
[49:36] Because of this extra distance between everything you have that much more infrastructure. Emmys more root that means more app keeps that means longer pipes that means more pipes that means more wiring all these things explode and cost because it was extra distance that were utilizing because of the slower population density. And what is the benefit of what do we get out of this like why do people live in it.
[50:00] Because they were fleeing the city and the original infrastructure that the community built was nice and shiny and enticing and the maintenance cost of it hadn't caught up yet to increase taxes.
[50:15] Yeah of course well I mean I spent some time in a lot of time online looking for communities online where people were praising suburbs talking to how much they loved it and the things that I routinely saw was won the space people really enjoyed having space, they really loved schools and it. Paradoxically in America a Suburban communities tend to have better schools it's the opposite him in many other places around the world where the cities have the best public schools. Whatever fair in the end that is more true for socio-economic reasons because of this white flight rather than any sort of innate form of schooling that is only available the suburbs and not in the city's it really comes down to dollars. Whatever they feel safer which we'll talk about later but is actually completely not true the opposite suburbs are significantly more deadly than cities for a variety of reasons both in crime and other deaths.
[51:08] And that's usually in the list they're like oh I did it for my kids so they feel safe I did it for the schools for my kids and I did it for the space cuz I can get more, Hell House for my buck basically and I mean the password of also said you know. That's safety word is code word for racism but maybe it still is and maybe I'll talk about gated communities in a little bit why we see so many of those.
[51:37] But because so much of this is dependent upon the fact that the municipality can provide money to fund the services that people look for predominantly is schools predominately upkeep of these roads, that means the community itself must always be growing in order to fuel the investment in these things and when that growth starts to slow, Wendy's initial Investments need to start turning into maintenance cost and you'll see the additional economic activity that does generate as we talked about way back and one of our first episodes and infrastructure, you see this suburb begin to enter a death spiral and they can't afford to find themselves anymore so you have to raise taxes oftentimes kicking people out and punishing most predominantly the people can't afford to move. Or they need to continue spawning new growth, which means setting aside more land for development by changing zoning areas and thus in the process increasing the sprawl saving themselves in the moment but pushing out their future cost even higher, and basically doing them down the road unless some sort of helicopter comes out in drops money on City Hall.
[52:45] Right in and it's why we seen poverty grow so much faster recently in the suburbs compared to cities between 2000 and 2015 poverty in the suburbs outside Atlanta grew 126%, but since 1990 poverty across suburbs generally have increased 50% across the country, and that poverty growth is outpacing population by a factor of 3/2 it's not a simple case of just more or people moving into suburbs. The poverty itself is occurring in the suburbs.
[53:16] Well it's the suburbs creating the poverty and I think it's really a point that needs to be driven home it's, people like to sign this this problem like you said the people moving out of cities and that that is starting to happen. Recently because people are being priced out there gentrification process these. The suburbs themselves the way that they're inherently a more expensive way to live than in the city means that it constantly is generating increase poverty in addition to a tire cost, and this is one of these the greatest weaknesses of the Suburban system and why it is inevitably doomed to always fail in the long term.
[53:53] Yeah and it's, obviously bankrupting municipalities in the process which is probably where the poppies coming from and that episode that you alluded to where we talked about this more in-depth this episode 5 end of the road, oh how we talked about the cost to maintain and build out that app for sure she gets more and more expensive the more spread out people to come, and you know the obvious thing people point to his Rhodes I think I saw somewhere that two-thirds of Los Angeles is dedicated to just roads and parking lots, but like we discussed in that episode this extends to just about every service you can imagine, sewage lines water pipes the distance that ambulances have to travel to service somebody which you know just increases as traffic congestion gets worse and worse, again like you. You talk about this is all fine when you initially build the infrastructure because that's what attracts those new Resident boosting your tax base leads to that growth that you're talkin about but what happens when those water pipes which have an estimated lifespan of some 75 200 Years start to leak and you don't have the budget to pay for that maintenance let alone, replace the entire thing, write all those water pipes you know if you haven't spent the money at that point replacing them you get runaway cost that can no longer be met by the tax base it's a ticking time bomb, and I think that's what we're witnessing now is a form of slow collapse all over the country.
[55:14] I want to go back to a point you just made it that two-thirds of Los Angeles is reportedly dedicated to roads and parking lots in earlier the episode I mentioned. Suburbs are really designed for one thing and one thing of mine and it's not people you think when we would design our environments and we're going to spend most of her life that most of this country's will not most asked about the significant portions country is spending most of their lives, that we would do so with them in mind but they're not the suburbs are designed entirely around the idea of the automobile. So much of the space so much of the connection it's all designed about making the automobile happy, you mentioned how roads often times that don't pay attention pedestrians aren't thinking about that I mean that happens on a very macro level, we're dividing what would be normally Continuous Flow the land that people can walk across into the subdivision, with these basically giant rivers of asphalt separating limit and yeah you can cross him in a crosswalk but often times these crosswalks especially in larger roads that many municipalities are moving towards in order to help with the massive traffic problems that sub regenerate what to talk about moment, become very dangerous they divide people they divide animals they're bad for the environment and oftentimes are also dangerous for driver some cells which is one of the reasons why suburbs are just about the most dangerous place you can live anywhere in the world.
[56:36] If you don't die from the car is your walking down your suburban Street then the crippling depression will get.
[56:42] Well I get to that don't worry we can see this in a very visual way so in the suburbs just. Look at Wendy's big box stores like Mondays malls look for when the strip malls would ever witnessed how much of that is dedicated to a parking lot. This enormous asphalt just massive area. Most of the time this parking lot is predominantly empty it's it's it's maybe like a third of the way. Almost everyday everyday it very rarely is ever more than that except for maybe a couple days a year on like Black Friday maybe during December right around Christmas, and yeah maybe these lots are at capacity and if that news stations Walton reporter capacity or 90% capacity in the Christmas mall parking lot watch or whatever.
[57:36] It has never been at capacity for probably like 20 years.
[57:39] Will Gwinnett Place Mall. Incidentally that's the mall in the new stranger things series for those at the mall I grew up going to it's now stranger things 80s throwback Mall. Little fat. In this manner we're dedicating huge amounts of our available space huge amounts of R physical aesthetic space to something that is used once or twice a year, solely for cars solely for this inefficient method of transportation at end of a way of living, and then you screw this to almost every single section of the suburbs way that intersects to design the with the streets turn radius is of all the stuff always things are designed it with very specific Quantified measurements from the engineers and Architects handbook, any way that does not put people first but does put the automobile first and tries Above All Else above our sanity above our health in order to make sure that car is can constantly flow. It's at 30 miles per hour, plus section through every single part of her life and disrupt whatever flow might be possible maybe one day generate Community we have decided that we're going to do our best to make sure that's not even possible.
[58:51] Look at that what you said a lot in think there's a lot of intersecting ideas here and I definitely want to come back to the shopping mall briefly because we can't talk about suburban sprawl without the shopping mall but real quick. You know you said a lot of things like that I mean the early on you mentioned how Suburban Landscapes are inherently discriminatory, you talked about you know driving around UC parking lot everywhere and in this is also going back to what you mentioned about how it is literally illegal to design, towns that makes sense for people and communities to actually exist in then where did you know you legally cannot put a building down without a large parking lot in many places you literally cannot build apartments on top of shops many places you cannot build building, that front the sidewalk and kind of invite The Pedestrian field and, I think all these ideas intersect with a historical Foundation that we mention the very beginning of this episode which is land as a source of capital accumulation in addition to possibly a historical accident, there wasn't foreseen but so we talk.
[59:54] Ground Zero maybe you could say.
[59:58] That's right David you could say that ground zero of capital accumulation is the ground itself. And so bear with me I'm trying to intersect all these these ideas but, also connecting this with the original Suburban communities that I mentioned Llewellyn Park in Riverside these were escapes for the wealthy and. What do wealthy really hate David more than anything else in the world but not quite you think.
[1:00:32] Even yes they hate us at they especially lot they especially hate a poor people living anywhere near them so. If this is one of the things that rich people were escaping from when they built these insular communities outside their cities they wanted to be away from all the the masses right, and so they established, a new zoning laws that were not present in cities cities were kind of designed at this time to integrate different incomes different housing and it kind of led to these serendipitous rubbing a shoulders of many different diverse people, rich people didn't want that, so they created laws that prevented the construction of homes in their area that were lower density than something that could only be affordable by a rich person right, that you know they would never create zoning laws that say you can build a house here, but it has to be such and such Square speed on such and such a lot and that type of house because of the construction cost you know you would only be able to afford it if you were millionaire, and in the same vein they also didn't want their factories which they were also escaping from to be built right next to their community so they also created this kind of separation of uses zoning practicewear, the only residential homes can be built here nothing else can be built here no convenience stores no corner stores no nothing right in this all carry forward when the automobile took. 1st and center stage on the American landscape we kept the old zoning laws that were really only designed for the Suburban communities to.
[1:02:00] The discriminatory ideals of rich people who had access to public transportation and we replicated them in math and, it kind of, institutionalized discrimination and racism because it encourages each class to discriminate against whoever is lower than them until eventually the poorest Among Us is all but guaranteed to live in the worst locations and conditions, right in Suburbia itself aggravates racism and classism because in the same way that those wealthy people, prevent the zoning of lower density housing, if you're a middle-class family you also vote for zoning that prevent even lower density than or or higher density than that sorry. On and on until the four are regulated to these very high-density projects in town somewhere there's far away from all of the other people.
[1:02:55] I think it's actually even worse than what you're saying here Daniel because yeah you know we have these these middle class lower class middle class lower class upper class divisions. Subdivisions in particular in the way that they've been marketed a crate and even more narrow and specific division in Inca, right so scientifically yeah if you can afford something approximately than you stay there but. Subdivisions advertise themselves in a very specific way where they'll have a sign, that says like Summer Meadows a new development from the 350s to the 375 and it's, nearing down a very specific group of people who can afford a $375,000 payment over 30 years less than Mortgage in whatever, next door they'll build a slightly more upscale development that'll save from the 450s to the 500 and it is maybe as a gate it's a Lil Bit fancier, and it's so your subdivisions are very narrow income brackets.
[1:03:58] Probably the only people you're exposed to an environment that isn't either your workplace or something where you're a consumer. Purchasing something from a retail worker so what's your in these little divisions separated from everyone else maybe you know your neighbors but odds are your neighbors are going to be very similar to you because you're a very specific income capabilities. Your interactions with people outside of this are going to be your workplace which once again, are going to be people who are similar to you because you're blowing in the same field because you're doing the same work that pays approximately the same and then everything else outside of that unless you have some sort of hobby or something, is going to be you purchasing things from other people from retailer workers and that will be the limit of your exchanges, with people who aren't in your very narrow income gap.
[1:04:51] So people's class experienced is lost people's experience with people who are more diverse or different than them. Very difficult to fight and the one thing that really generate sympathy really well study after study shows is being exposed and living specifically living among people who are different than you, who are different racially or different in terms of sexual orientation and gender and especially in terms of their class.
[1:05:18] Let me some mystreet my my block here in New York just just my block okay so it's a single block, I'm talking on my neighborhood. I mean hell in in my building alone there are people who live here or rent-stabilized who can't afford more than a few hundred dollars a month on their rent.
[1:05:37] Then there are people here we're paying, two thousand three thousand four thousand dollars a month on rent for apartment and then live right next to each other we have everything in between we have, old people who lived here for literally 50-60 years we have babies, we have Rich we have wealthy why walk down my street I hear people speaking polish I hear people speaking Spanish I hear people speaking all sorts of languages and that is literally all on my block, and is constant exposure to these diverse viewpoints of these interesting people who understand things from dairy many different ways, empathy among everybody it breeds solidarity and class Consciousness between everybody where you understand these different walks of life that we all have but we feel like we're in this together because this is our block. This is our neighborhood these are our trees these are our sidewalks we work together to make sure it stays clean and nice and whatever you know your neighbors in the suburbs, it doesn't happen maybe you know your neighbors you probably hate them because they're on the homeowners association and they're mad that you put up a different color shed in your backyard, or that your picket fence needs to be painted your backyard is probably fenced-off communicators to find some sort of privacy if you know your neighbors at all that is. I mean these are the people who are most similar to you in the entire world and tap them a teacher.
[1:06:57] Yeah that's a good.
[1:06:58] I'm speaking from personal experience with my family members from friends who all hit their neighbors and these are the closest people to you in the world, and this is your entire world you don't get this exposure anything else and so we've had an entire generation at this point now grow up live their life born in the suburbs, go off to college come back to the suburbs graze their own family the suburbs and now our living childlessness suburbs of course this is the Baby Boomers. Should we be surprised that these people who are exposed to nothing unusual or different or diverse in their life are by and large, racist xenophobic we see all this this rhetoric on television from from political leaders, we see all these disasters going on in the creasing repolarize, is this surprising, now this is exactly what you would expect from an environment that is specifically designed to set you off and divided you from as many people as possible the American individualism that is a plate on this Earth and I see that quite literally a plague on this Earth in terms, I'm destruction of the Earth with environmentally culturally as well as literally in people's lives from the wars and we fight from the resources to exploit from the violence. Keeps up is extremely unsustainable way of living in the suburbs are talked about that at the moment. Notice should be surprising because the suburbs inevitably lead to This Disaster.
[1:08:26] Preach it I hope someone takes that in the end and splices it with your lawn rat will have a whole day I just said like a mess and we'll we'll build like a one-hour just massive like you just ranting on Suburban.
[1:08:40] How much is how much is send it to my therapist I've talked to her about suburbs a lot and I feel like the way this is just me regurgitating all that is like one single.
[1:08:49] Perfect. This is the only kind of related but I just want to provide like this historical example of how much the rich hate it the pasta even possibility that anyone lower than them would even potentially come within like site of their property. So you're in New York David and the Gold Coast on the Northern Shore of Long Island you know was one of the early locations of of one of those great Suburban getaways for the rich.
[1:09:19] Huge mansions were built on the shore or the great Titans of industry and you know they kept a tight-knit community, they talked amongst themselves and and they devised ways to keep everyone else out, they built their huge mansions behind Great Walls they armed them with guards they control their own private police force but here's the here's the kicker David and this comes from Robert Caro's book. The power broker specifically on the rise and fall of Robert Moses quote. The officials they control allowed all public roads not needed for their own access to their Estates to fall into disrepair to discourage public use. And less the public turn instead to rail Transportation a group of them led by Charles Pratt you had learned how to handle annoyances from his mentor Rockefeller but sufficient stock in the Long Island Railroad to control its policies. And saw to it that the railroads Northshore lines were kept especially Antiquated and rickety in quote. You know that quite literally bought a railroad but they could make it suck so no one would want to ride it and possibly walk by their home and that weren't enough they. Bribe the local officials to make the roads have fall into disrepair so no one can drive on them.
[1:10:39] Bro the free market so efficient like it works so great someone is literally buying us railroad to sabotage. But it makes sense in terms of that live larger free-market like financially what a broken system we have and we could we still pretend that everything is great that's his best possible system. Sorry sorry to interrupt keep going.
[1:11:02] Well intend to bring it back to what you're talkin about you know the division and Suburban landscapes, in the county we grow up and you know apartment development it's pretty highly politicized it's extremely controversial because it's it's a relatively Rich County no homeowners one Apartments built in their District, they don't want families with lower incomes that will move into the area. And school districts right are are usually the biggest factor in this decision or anyone listening outside of the United States you have no idea how. Influential the school districts that you can send your children to kind of impact your housing decision.
[1:11:41] And and how much money do school districts control in this process is organic reference to county that we both grew up in they have an annual budget in the billions of dollars just for primary K through 12 education.
[1:11:53] Wealthy people want their kids all going to the same school while keeping the kids of lower-income families out, and again for our non-american listeners you might find this hard to believe but High School reputations are here here are just as much about athletic performance than academic, Andy Brack is that high schools compete within are organized based on school size, so you have one egg or very small schools then to a AAA all the way up the 5A 6A and so on.
[1:12:24] Stop at 5 a.m.
[1:12:26] All the way up to five a and there's one.
[1:12:33] And there's one school here that has been consistently high for their mid-level size, and in response to that or maybe because of this they built a successful lobbying present persuading the town to block all new apartment developments, specifically so they don't get more kids and get bumped up into a more competitive athletic bracket where it where it might be harder to win those championship. Alright David your ramblings have taken us way off the road here.
[1:13:00] I got a bunch more but you keep going.
[1:13:02] Yeah I was going to say off the track but I internally corrected myself. Like I said we can't talk about suburban sprawl without mentioning the shopping mall and you know we probably could do an entire show to go to just the shopping mall although probably it would be unnecessary at this point I think everyone understands the concept was a huge failure. And the evidence of that is an account list malls abandoned and empty. Everywhere in the United States but understanding why they were built in the first place is cut is it. Order part of the Suburban story you touched on it a little bit David but I just want to provide some of the financial incentives behind the scenes so you had President Reagan came to power in 1981 and.
[1:13:47] During his two administrations the u.s. national debt doubled in large part from tax cuts for the wealthy. And at the same time the financial sector underwent massive deregulation and Consular rights about the effect on speculative mall development quote. Regions Bank deregulation and tax policies promote of gigantic and unnecessary Land Development schemes that benefited their backers even when the schemes fail by any normal standard. This is how it work. A developer and a bank would get together to build a shopping mall outside Denver the bank would take enormous fees off the tops of the total investment as a reward for its participation. The development company would pay itself a large be upfront for supervising the construction. The money invested in the project would have come from federally insured Bank deposits. Or any number of reasons the shopping mall might fail to attract enough retail tenants or customers. Too close to other established malls too far from population centers whatever, and go out of business when the Tumbleweed blew through the empty parking lot the banker could feel perfectly secure knowing that the deposit she had thrown away on a foolish Venture would be fully repaid by the US Treasury, while the developers Corporation would seek protection under the bankruptcy laws and the developer himself would hold onto his personal Fortune without liability in quote.
[1:15:16] And in addition to this deregulation in the same way that land is used to accumulate capital in part through subdivision, touch that the individual plots each cell for a combined amount greater than the whole mall development kind of follows a similar tactic because every component that makes up a shopping mall and be sold, once a developer completes a mall project they can sell the land itself, then the building as a whole than the individual pieces of the building typically the parts that has anchor stores like Macy's Dillard's Etc, they sell the right to manage the mall, and so on and so on and wants all these components are finally sold off the developer is sitting on way more money than they started with and they can just go right down the road to build another even bigger.
[1:16:03] This process has been fueled entirely by again our dependence on the automobile and our presents for suburban community. Because all the people living in those vast monoculture attractive houses have no choice but to drive long distances tomatoes with good stock Buy National Corporation which are the only companies that can usually afford The Upfront Capital necessary to enter a long-term high rent lease. And in the process write any semblance of local economy that might have existed before is wiped out. But by the time the surrounding Community has been mined for all its wealth the original developer has packed up all. Prophets and moved on to the next town with an even bigger retail monstrosity under.
[1:16:53] I keep coming back to this thing on this Daniel well I mean a lot of things that's why I keep hearing me say the same rant over and over again with slightly different variations here but the cost of all of this, you really focus just a second ago on the cost of these malls how the price of a long-term lease made it impossible for local businesses or smaller businesses to really participate this in any way. Of course what you neglected to mention is that now all malls are a local Airsoft courts. So that industry we have to thank for the feeling America Mall.
[1:17:28] And the ones that have no shots are actually impromptu skateboard park.
[1:17:32] Yeah it's true I mean actually I really do think we should do this mall episode of some point cuz there's a lot of ideas for how to repurpose a small into something really cool and radical I mean I think it's worth talking about but not in the scope of this particular episode so you know just so much stuff is so expensive, the most expensive the the cost of once the mall is it is now bankrupt an empty that's expensive it's expensive on our aesthetic perspective you drive past these old malls there just masses of empty cracking gray concrete with the siding peeling off spalling everywhere but it looks garbage and it of course depresses the.
[1:18:10] The value of everything around it which leads us into one of these poverty death spirals as we've already mentioned. But I'm in all the roads that connect this stuff that massive amount of traffic all of this cost a lot of money so much money put into trying to make this traffic better and better, woolwine the road people saying and then next thing you know, widening roads actually increases traffic in the long-term and short-term it remind approvable within four to five years typically the road, it is is now back to where it was before but with even more car so it's worse, popular metaphor for this bed urban planners like the uses you don't lose weight by listening your belt, it's basically what you doing with the road expanded but then you expand to fill it. I'm in the highways alone just the roads like like this highway is these parking these roads alone there's an estimate.
[1:19:07] 8 to 10% of the gross national product, is devoted to supporting the system so they're building them out in the first place or maintaining the amount of potential investment that could be going into useful things instead focus on upkeep, of the system that invariably creates more problems and fixes in the first place, a lot of small towns have experimented with ripping out roads much to the screaming of developers to to the shouting of shop owners and they found that when they ripped out Road especially Road Center, pawn shops in downtown and create instead spaces for people to walk but it actually increases dramatically economic output of those areas around Rose, it turns out people like being outside and walking when they're not scared of being run over or when there's pretty things to look at or their stuff to do. So getting rid of these roads which are supposed to Spur economic activity actually creates more economic output then the road test in the first place so I mean maybe that's something to talk about the end of the show with what can we do because there is a lot of potential here but, little things whenever you can really paying for all this investment in the world so if we were to actually be paying for all the maintenance the upkeep the cost of building out all this pavement, and in my head like the word that defines the sprawl is pavement with their throws our parking lot will be paying something like 350 per gallon in addition, to the cost of fuel that doesn't account for environmental damage which would push that cost up to maybe over $9 gallon.
[1:20:35] Treating the The Substitute Nation basically of each individual car on the road by these cost with a newborn by taxpayers or the environment something to like five to six thousand dollars annually, what if we look at the cost of the car in the first place now people are spending 12000 $24,000 a year in order to have the luxury of driving these cars around in and what luxury is it because the suburbs, often times now the work has moved back into the city so we're both from Atlanta Atlanta is one of the worst commuting cities in the country.
[1:21:08] Most people drive 35 miles or more a day in order to go to work often times has one to two hours of driving easily I know people who do 3 hours of driving a day in order to compete like this and it's kind of funny. You know because we fought really hard for the eight-hour workday right people quite literally died in order to get us in a tower work. Reduced from the 10-hour workday that was typically done before and they've died it was if we could recover these two hours we would be so much happier we could use it to pursue things that we cared about art, we can learn things we could spend time with our family we could create new opportunities economically if we want to do that whatever.
[1:21:49] All of that saving that happened cuz this was primarily fought for in the cities with Factory workers would walk to their jobs that's 2 hours ago. We squandered them of the suburbs cuz the extra two hours a day that we got from this from 10 hours of working two 8 hours of working is now spent in a car in the most frustrating way possible trying to slowly make it to work, a place that you probably hate and then trying to fight your way home, just so you can get there and sit in this ridiculous house cut off from everything else maybe mentoring out in order to get some sort of food or whatever. Bring home again in your car battling people on the road for that in the increasing traffic you're invariably see with your suburb as it more and more people move into it because suburbs generate much more traffic.
[1:22:38] Comprable City's do despite the much lower population density primarily because the road layouts are really dumb.
[1:22:46] All of that we fought for is lost. What is what is the tool that what is the psychic toll no wonder people are so angry all the time no wonder the suburbs are just filled with biking black girls. And I know I keep coming back to this point but it's not even just just the parents it's the kids too so I mean growing up you might have heard the term cul-de-sac kid that Daniel.
[1:23:08] I knew people who lived on the coda sack.
[1:23:12] Will you kind of live down the cul-de-sac.
[1:23:14] Almost but not quite I mean that my road went into a cul-de-sac.
[1:23:19] Even like a corner and there was a cul-de-sac, well anyway cul-de-sac kid is so it is it's funny that remember earlier I was talking to help people move to the suburbs specifically for their children because they see it as a safe place that the kids can go out and play in the cul-de-sac. Cool yeah but like a cul-de-sac is a very small place kids are roaming much less than ever before and there's a variety of reasons why people say this is the case helicopter parenting the world is more dangerous, which isn't really true at all but a predominant portion of it is that it's just impossible for kids to get around anywhere anymore.
[1:23:56] In a traditional neighborhood that was built in a small town or built with walking in mind it's very easy for kid to go out to walk somewhere to do that in New York City I see kids all the time, little kids maybe the not clapping on the subway themselves but like for 5 year old that moms like a go get some milk. You know and the kid runs down and the bodega the end of the store she she gives her kids some money the kid knows the bodega owner because we've been going there the whole life the walk down to the bodega, get the milk. They walked back everyone the street we know says hi to the kids cuz we all know them and they come back home and then like I got to know what is this person saves, the parent car trip that you would only have to give me supper's it gives the kid a sense of Independence and it teaches the kid how to do the stuff themselves because very soon this will be a life skill that will have to do but I think it's four 5 already have this figured out, and by the time they're eight this is this is easy they were there they're wondering all over the neighborhood by the time that 12 or 13 they want to go over the city and they're very safe doing that in a place that many people consider, very dangerous even though that does not drive at all with Statistics but there's an independence, and awareness of the world security and everything that cut that comes out of this experience of doing things that they would give people the suburbs a heart attack and why does it give them a heart attack in the suburbs because everything feels so dangerous when you're cut off.
[1:25:18] When you're removed from everything, the possibility of imagining adventuring out this Fortress he built often times quite literally to get a community is terrifying for these parents of the night wasn't so they're limited to the Realms of these cul-de-sacs, and often times so in that cul-de-sac not even other parts of the same neighborhood there's no private space for them to go to the woods to explore because they're all fenced off or cordoned off or sectioned into different divisions that belong to someone else won't let them on your land. You have this very limited place will you know your parents are watching you through the window there's no sense of privacy there's no place to learn things make mistakes or push the boundaries. It will eventually you get that car when your 16. And your parents are desperate for some sort of Independence cuz they're tired of having been your stripper 15 years because the only way for a kid to go out and Venture into the world is a mom could you drive me to my friends house.
[1:26:11] Maybe older now you can ride a bike somewhere but often times many parents won't even let that happen because if it's in the same neighborhood sure but if you have to cross a major Street that's not going to fly. What does it do with the kids.
[1:26:23] Parents are always trying to build up their kids as dependents you know let me give you a license to have some money to teach you some sort of responsibility with that money. Did you just spend it on your own you know bro up is an important skill to have but what's the point when he hears your allowance thanks Mom, you can spend on anything you want okay Mom could you drive me to the mall, you going to the mall your mom is there with you watching you buy something probably does it for you you and your mom the money she buys it you had it back but there's no growing that occurs in is processed you're just like making the process of your mom buying me something more complicated. And of course this is not a universal experience but it is exceedingly common and something that there's suburbs really lends himself to. There's another book I've been reading it's called suburbination and there's a little passes they haven't hear about this cul-de-sac syndrome. Children are frozen in the form of infancy utterly dependent on others bereft of the ability to introduce variety into their own lives. Robbed of the opportunity to make choices and exercise judgment and I think they're really eloquently sums up what we see here and. This cripples these kids they have to figure this out at some point it just lays there on said maybe with a lot of Boomers complain about with Lisa Millennials is some sort of spin-off from this cul-de-sac overprotective helicopter parenting Style, at the suburbs lend themselves to it almost makes a requirement when you're raising children.
[1:27:49] I don't know if this is exactly the same but I used to walk to middle school because it was across the street from my neighborhood fortunately and I used to cut through. A neighbor's house because it basically cut the time it took to walk in half, otherwise I had to go like this really roundabout way it one time I was walking through the the backyard of this neighbor's house and they came out and they said, who do you think you are walking through my property, you I want you to go back out there and you tell all your little friend I want anybody walking through my property you know I don't know how your parents raised me but you just caught me off the prize and.
[1:28:31] Yeah well I had the same thing happen to me it's not because I was walking to school I live too far to walk but the bus would drop me off I can get off on this early stop and cut through my neighbor's backyard literally my backyard neighbor to the backyard. And to get to my house quickly and it would be one of the first stops or I could wait to go all the way through the neighborhood on the bus and then she come back to mine.
[1:28:52] 30 or 40 minutes later so I used to get off, hopped in my neighbor's backyard somebody that we know like this is my my little backyard neighbor and they yelled at me for it they said no this is my property did you see the fans what you doing is trespassing don't do that in like what the fuck is wrong with these people like, when we go back to the not to get all my laundry. What does conception back people with their property with their lawns with their fences become Little Lords, are defending their territory from like the massive horde to just want to cut through the yard or whatever like, you know just because you think you're a lord doesn't mean you have to be a tyrant, and this kind of paranoid I think it's just so pervasive in the suburbs and I don't know how much was just these fucking Psychopaths decide to move there and live like this or because I maybe start off that way but the suburbs, read this paranoia they just breathe this way of thinking and interacting with people that didn't make it to this the only way to conceive your relationship with anybody that is the inevitable outcome of all this and of course you know that's being able outcome of interpersonal relationships with the people who literally live right next to you who are your peers and almost every single way no wonder that we see the larger political climate spin out and anytime somebody is another, and other can be very wide range of things that they say fuck off you know I got mine.
[1:30:14] Well that's I think what you're talkin about this this psychic damage is just. Really your expression of frustration at how Suburban Landscapes destroyed community and you know I think your point about how they, really segregate People based on income and then you know insulate them so that they only experience that and I think all this ties together and, your one thing is really obvious about Suburban communities once you think about public space is that there is no public space there's no way to organize there's no way to come together as people and discuss what's going on in in in your. Communities in your surrounding area there are a lot of private spaces that exist to kind of fill that Niche perhaps churches being the most obvious but again going back to the shopping malls he's where places, huge sites of a congregation where people came together because it was the only thing to do it was literally the only place you could go.
[1:31:17] In the Suburban landscape where you could actually walk first and foremost and then actually bumped shoulders with strangers, and I think that appeal to a lot of people on this site really subconscious way that it did that spoke to Annie that they didn't realize that was missing, and the only problem how it with that of course is that the mall you know being a private space the owners had full control of what goes on inside there's very little seating it's all designed to funnel people to store so that they'll spend money, and not as a way for them to assemble and if active people did that they likely get picked out. Interesting enough I went to the lights for Liberty visual a few weeks ago, which was just an event to stand in solidarity with the Immigrant and Refugee communities in this country, and it was held on the sidewalk of a part of a mall near where I lived in, I think the only reason they could do that is that it was a Latino male and maybe the owners were sympathetic to the cause but, you know how interesting is it that the best place for us as a community to come together to hear speeches to sing songs and to hold hands with, the immigrants in our communities who we support was that a shopping you even now it's incredible.
[1:32:32] And you know I finally realized today David why I've had such a hard time living in a suburb that these past two years us specifically in the context of researching for the show, you know sometimes it's hard for me to do this work like not not because the topics are difficult to engage in with but a lot of times I just lack the energy to just sit down and read. And sometimes I'll start at home and I got this isn't working I'll try to go to a coffee shop and then it's just one of those typical chains and, I don't really it's not working for me either I'll go to an office space that I'm fortunate enough to have access to but that's also a little bit lonely, today I spent several hours at home preparing for the show and it dawned on me why it's so lonely because a house in the suburbs is no place at all really, you could sit on your front porch during the middle of the day, or even evening or morning you could sit there for several hours and never see a single person right in this is a space that is supposed to be a home, what is a home without other people and of course you have your family but. Is that really all a community is it's just the the three or four people you live with and and no other interactions no other people to exchange information with. It's it's just a very very lonely space to be in and I can I guess if you have a job that you constantly commuting to and your distract from the reality a little bit, which is probably why so many people turn to TV right to try and Escape.
[1:34:02] Or oxy.
[1:34:03] Right yeah exactly.
[1:34:05] It should be no surprise that as suicides climb the predominant place that they occur are. First and foremost World areas wouldn't but when you control for poverty a suburbs are the most likely place that you are to kill yourself. Which may be brings me to this this final point about why these places suck. Without getting into the spinal final Point what spell do the second aren't safer this is one of the major motivations again that deceitful people talking about why they wanted to move in the suburbs in the first place and I think it's because, they've been sold this image and everything about the suburbs is really designed to sell you something and then I'll get to be stats in a second but, then I wanted you to the idea of the 20-minute house so this is something I alluded to earlier and really ties in well with our old friend Edward Bernays.
[1:34:58] The 20-minute house is not kind of like how William Levitt could build a hundred fifty houses in a single day.
[1:35:04] No it's not that it has nothing to do with how many houses you can build in it.
[1:35:09] I mean if you was do if you was doing one of the time that probably comes out to about 20 minutes something.
[1:35:15] I don't know that you pull up a calculator and you you figure that out I'm going to read the passage on the 20-minute house from this the same book suburb Nation. The 20-minute house is not a derogatory label. Quite the opposite refers to the fact that a house has only 20 minutes to win the affection of a potential buyer since that is the average length of a realtor visit. The building industry has responded to this phenomenon by creating a product that is at its best for the first 20 minutes that one is in it. Specifically the house is usually organized around a tall great room from which immediately upon entering the potential buyer is astounded by partial views of almost every other room in the house. The disadvantage of this organization is that there is no acoustical privacy for the individual rooms. Something that of course is not discovered until after moving gay similarly because so much of the budget is spent on the front of the house, much to the Dutchman Street space the back of the house ins up being a few sliding glass doors in a dead flat wall sits at the backyard offers no privacy either you exit the rear door to find yourself completely exposed in the Windswept lot. Directly visible to the occupants of five other houses identical to your own.
[1:36:38] It was really kind of mises the suburb experience from me at least in terms of the architecture and housing of that living component of the sprawl that were talking about earlier. These houses so often aren't designed with people in mind. I just like Maury we are not designed the suburbs with people mind when designing around cars these houses aren't designed around people their design around consumers and generating something that is a product first and foremost that will be sold more than. Living space a place for people to live and build a community. And is different way of thinking and it's subtle at first but more I think about it in the more you look at these places more obvious it becomes the difference is that a product. Has no place doesn't care about which dropped it doesn't care about the larger content of his community it doesn't care about anything that extends beyond the confines of the property line things that increase its Street curbside value. So when you look at these houses from the front is typical mcmansion style up a building yeah it's very impressive but behind that is cheap stucco. The architectural decisions don't make sense you don't have usable space inside there's no such things as continuity in the floor of the house there's no privacy things are much cheaper in the grading and breaking down and you realized quickly if you haven't bought a place to live. A place to grow up place to grow old you bought an appearance.
[1:38:05] Something you can look at it from the outside and appreciate gaze outside your front windows and see your neighbors are similarly successful to yourself. But inside it's a Halo on top place that you eventually get upset with frustrated by pushing not only just The Persuasions you feel on the road itself as you drive from place to place from work to home, back home and on and on forever to a friend around your family your kids and never knowing exactly why you're here. That's why we move so much these are always unhappy with these places but never what we want. I'm always searching for this thing that will we know what it is when we close our eyes we can visualize this see this community but for some reason we keep avoiding that we keep buying the same boxes. These houses are designed with consumption in mind first and foremost just like bearnaise suggested that in order to sell products like a nose we should change the very way that we design our house is in order to build music room and leave a place for piano. These houses are just giant empty places to put our. Our dreams are trappings of success for people who come visit us and leave vast amounts of room for all the knickknacks and consumer products that we acquire in our Quest. Trying to fill this hole in her heart that is created by does lack of community from the very places that we choose to spend our lives.
[1:39:28] I want you to think for a second just how disruptive these communities are not only know we talked about this lack of flow from place to place. How you have to drive all things are subdivided how these giant roads Act is impenetrable Rivers more or less. I also want you think about for moment this lack of flow across time. In the past somebody who live in traditional neighborhood somebody who lives in the European style Village or small town you are born into house maybe. Dying that house this is often times the case you might live down the street you might live in this community still but the house that you've been chewy come to own you spend decades, 2 year old person until eventually you can't care for yourself anymore and then somebody from your family moves in will you find yourself, in an assisted living care until you eventually pass away can you imagine that in a suburb it's not even physically possible. When you're young you buy starter house but it's too small to put your family it's in a bad school district what is the only thing you could afford at the time because the American housing market is pumped up by people using these Investments not as places to live.
[1:40:39] Okay you're having a family. You trying to move up in life so you move to this house in the nicer School District maybe it's more than you can pay but it's something that you think you'll be there for a long time you can raise a family you move in. Spend some few years there but the school district starts going downhill as your kids start getting older. Did often happens because municipalities start running out of money because this neighborhood is not brand new so they have to divert maintenance funds to all these problems that they didn't foresee for the lack of growth and it has to come from somewhere the taxes go up. Where does quality the schools go down. Okay so you move again that's a little bit of a loss but you keep going now you've moved three times already and your kids haven't even move out of your house. You imagine one day about moving to a smaller place something that feels more like a community something that you were trying to figure out but, I know this neighborhood is nice isn't a good school districts do you stay there gets go to college they move out finally come by that home that he's going to retire, you decide you're tired of the traffic we've been dealing with for years you drive to and from work everyday, working these long hours trying to support this mortgage this car payment a saving up for college tuition for your kids all this disaster stuff that takes all of your time funding an energy that your whole life revolves around.
[1:41:59] But it's okay you finally have a chance you've made it you've saved up enough money and you can retire somewhere that you like. You go outside of the suburbs that you were originally in moving something maybe that was more like where you recently started, maybe when you first bought your house it was in a kind of farming area and then as time went on strip malls came and got more developed the traffic game will now if you move it farther out, the process is barely going to repeat itself but you figure by that time you know you'll be moving on or dead. Define displace part of the route in a course that means is farther away from everything you can't walk to anywhere you have to drive to buy our groceries drive to go to church drive to do anything you're getting older you're getting worse even accident.
[1:42:44] And you're not sure if it's your fault or not decide to cheat on your license exam because your eyes are getting worse but you can't get rid of your license that means you lose your building to live. Kids find out it's a big drama so they decide in force you to move into a retirement community. It's nice you don't have to drive anywhere it's all filled with old people they have a clubhouse a corner store all things you could need give golf carts to drive from place to place. Batangas on you can no longer care for yourself you're far from your kids cuz they don't live near these retirement facilities they don't come to visit as much. You're not there to take care of you when you fall then up there to be able to live with you when you need that help so we move between assisted living home it's a depressing place it's expensive your health the grades and you fucking.
[1:43:33] That is the Suburban experience. You're cut off from your own family because of the choices that you've made in the communities that you've decided to set yourself down it in a typical traditional neighborhood. Your family would be close by because the community desires right now cuz the work that could support them is right. Because everything is there when you lose your license is not a death sentence you can still walk downstairs I see all my street 18 year old women go to the bodega coming back with these bags they will be living in the same apartment until the day they die probably. They have Roots they have Community they have culture and they have a place that they can actually call their home this is something that we really don't have anymore, in United States for everyone who has an experience that is centered around the suburb this thing entirely lacks which is maybe why we put so much focus on a group identity on these larger National identities and then did the diseases that that caused because we have to have some sort of belonging community and we're not finding that in our day-to-day local individual lie. Those relationships those communities are lacking. And so we turn for summer to find them and it invariably spirals out these problems politically on these National scales that our country is singing right now tearing itself apart and this is playing out around the world Soleus people adopt. Is very sick American way of life.
[1:44:59] Nope no David 150 houses a day is actually comes out to two houses every 20 minutes so William Levitt was actually building the 10-minute House 2. Yeah I don't know what you've been talking about for the past 30 minutes but.
[1:45:17] I don't I don't know either I think I just had an out-of-body experience.
[1:45:21] Yeah it is the 10-minute house not the 20-minute house.
[1:45:24] Okay well now that we clear that up, there's one more thing I want to talk about real quick cuz I know this episode is running really long but like I said we have a lot to say and which is partially why we move to these bi-weekly a research episode so we have the time to put all the stuff together very quickly, suburbs are ecological disasters of course on a very local environmental level this sprawl this additional driving causes catastrophic environmental damage. Talking about things on a global scale especially the scale that happens when. Tens and hundreds of millions of Americans lived in this style that damage accelerates explodes and goes off the charts, people who live in suburbs blue two to four times more than the comprable city dweller, or rural area dweller suburbs are the most polluting part of this country and this is the most polluted country in the world. Greenhouse gas emissions per capita are the highest in the entire world in the American Summer. And this is driven primarily by the fact that people have to fucking drive everywhere constantly, nor did you do anything that could have to be shipped in the they consume a vast amount of material resources much more so than more combined population dense areas and this is not even counting you just a greenhouse gas emissions that occur. All that asphalt and pavement and that is put down the suburbs are quite literally if we ignore everything else. Justice environmental damage the summers are quite literally destroying the Earth.
[1:46:53] Well I just want to mention the the catastrophic land-use land use is one of the major causes of climate change and of course as you would expect. Brawl destroys rural land and the farm lands that goes with it because the development value of land. The potential value from development always surpasses agricultural values until you you force industrial inputs to that. Earthquakes. Between 1950 and 1990 90% of the farms in Vermont disappeared similarly in Western Massachusetts when populations exploded after World War II, some of the most fertile agricultural land in the United States became overrun with suburban sprawl. Planners panic and in an attempt to preserve the rural Countryside they passed zoning laws that require developers to build large minimum house Lots, and other laws that effectively separated the use of buildings like we talked about that deal was that while you know if house has had to be built on large land Lots, the countryside would be preserved but instead of just meant that houses over ran farms and the land between them I got used for nothing as it was too small for a typical farm and too large for other family living there to manage it. So what's the laws intended to Halt actually intensified as a result.
[1:48:18] Beautiful truly disaster is if it takes the worst components of City living and the worst components of reliving I just realized I forgot to mention this crime stats, I basically, Dairy Queen Sunrise that you live in a suburb you're more likely to die than in Rural America or most of the major cities in the United States. This is because one there's just as much violent crime if not more in suburbs there's just as much non violent crime if not more in suburbs then and even the most violent cities, there is much more Road deaths in. In suburbs and they're surprisingly almost as many pedestrian deaths and way more pedestrians deaths per capita in suburbs partially because these things are designed not with pedestrians in mind. So you're more likely to die in a car accident you're more likely to get murdered you more likely to get mugged you are more likely to kill yourself, the suburbs are the most dangerous place that you can live and raise a family and the old idea of the city being a dangerous thing has not been true, for decades it is a old hole over and when you tell your family that you're moving to the city and they're like be safe or whatever they're just living out on updated information. They are in Far More danger than you are so that's something nice to take home over Thanksgiving you can let everybody know that.
[1:49:42] Really make you popular at the dinner table.
[1:49:45] I am so popular so I was close this out I mean this is very heavy negative episode not a defeatist kind of way like a lot of things are like when we talk about the end of the ocean because it's, deoxygenation acidification whatever what do I do nothing but suburbs are actually a very, manageable problem like what we can deal with this this is something that we can really deal with and actually should be something where we focus a lot of energy on because, as you fix suburbs you fix a lot of other problems you start rebuilding Community you start reducing environmental impacts you start spring the economy. All these things in the paving great positive side effects so and they're very manageable. An impossible task by any means there are have been several, successful attempts already to revitalize three suburbs there are a project going on the way right now to revitalize a very small. Project also realize in cities Detroit has seen great success in that so far is continuing so if you want to move to Detroit you should get it now before the real estate market heats up even more over there. There's a lot that can be done in this a lot of this Sinners on changing some laws adjusting zoning a lot of small towns like I mentioned are now redeveloping their City centers, finding a lot of economic value in doing that.
[1:51:05] Yeah that's true but unfortunately a lot of it is in the name of gentrification without including those affordable units and you know all the things that go on a vacation.
[1:51:16] Now that's a good point, it's a lesson that cities have learned that you have a mandate a certain percentage of, units being set aside as affordable housing units but because the Mandate in revitalizing a small town suburb, is not the same as well as revitalizing a city they usually leave that out because they're first and foremost objective is to raise property values and setting money aside for more affordable housing does the opposite of that. That's because they're also ignorant because adding these more affordable housing units increases. A variety of stores that you have open your area with Spurs for their Economic Development and more housing development in a mixed-use way beyond that so, they found actually those are economic benefits and it doesn't just move you to have a bunch of homogeneous rich people living in the same place even not talking about the empathetic nature in the psychic ability of all of us to survive in the world.
[1:52:14] Being sure that we're developing things like multi-use understanding that people actually do enjoy walking places when they have places to walk and can do so safely in a beautiful way. The way that we designer suburbs are just awful you all already know how I feel about lawns so I'm not going to get it. Imperial Lawns could be good things if they're shared public spaces that are seen as communal spaces where you can commune and build community then that is a great way to start.
[1:52:44] Get rid of garages front-facing garages are ugly they put them behind houses Alleyways are awesome and that they're very unpopular suburbs but they're actually a great way to shift, is ice or which makes people think about cars with 6 up a third to two-thirds of the front of a house that has been constant eating Architects for decades, give me those eyes closer together yeah people bitching about it but it actually creates a more homogeneous beautiful neighborhood think something like Charleston which is something like this with Alleyways with house is very close to the most beautiful places, in the country it's very easy to develop neighborhoods and communities that look like that and those neighborhoods. Often times sold at much higher rates for Developers, then they would be for the equivalent amount of space or property square footage amenities as a traditional development, so it really makes economic sense to what Builders and developers are really set in their ways.
[1:53:44] Because of larger conceptions about what consumers want despite the most part most consumers really don't want to live in gated communities somebody called percent do most consumers do want to live next to parks that are something like 60%. We already know these things we just ignored this advice you continue to decide, data what is cheap and easy and proven to be successful is the only way to do things and I'm sure there's a financial instrument we're banks are unwilling to take risks of this for loans developers doing the same but when, you get the occasional developer that does take a risk places like Seaside Florida may have found an enormous success in this process. And even back when we grow up Daniel in Downtown Lawrenceville for example has really Revitalize their location gone on some list of like great places to live in Suwanee Georgia similar to.
[1:54:35] I know the guy who did that.
[1:54:36] By taking this advice by by making walkable mixed-use communities that are integrating people. Places to shop places to work places to live Civic places and eliminating as much as possible that pavement. And next thing you know you don't have a suburb Levittown.
[1:54:56] And then quick add to that support Land Trust because they're doing a lot of work pulling resources so that they can preserve land conserve agricultural land such that young farmers can access them, but there's a lot of different types of way I won't get into it here so I think that's a long enough episode David I would say it's it's certainly a lot to think about.
[1:55:16] Hell yes but I really do hope that you will think about this, brightest tell us all about your dream subdivisions your dream neighborhoods what your dream place to live looks like I would love to know. If you want to read all the information that we gathered to create this episode check out those books that Daniel 9 mentioned, as well as read a full transcript of this episode you can do all of that on her website, at ashes ashes. Nowhere to you was going to throw up a cool map on there of the pollution of cities or suburbs it is a really great graphic that I think it was Straits much better than I can summarize, the disaster the disease that the suburbs are on the world.
[1:56:00] Yeah definitely a lot of time and research goes into making these episodes possible I'm not really sure how I'm going to find the time to edit this monstrosity. So if you like to support us and and encourage us to keep going with all these these efforts. You are listener can support us we are listener-supported and we appreciate all your support you can do it so many different ways you can, I give us a 5-star rating on your favorite podcast app you can write us a review you can recommend it to a friend you can discuss these ideas with your family and friends we've also heard from people who, organized listening parties around these topic again the goal here is to spread awareness for our needs D grow our economy. Do as best we can to create resilient communities in the face of coming like a logical collapse, and hey that's not going to happen just because you're listening to the two of us about off these ideas it's going to come from you getting out there in your community creating community and getting people fired up. Or a better world but more importantly. You can send us money through patreon.com ashes ashes cast would like to thank everyone who has supported us so far, I'm a little late I'm getting the stickers off of this month but I promise you will receive them we'd like to thank our associate producers John Fitzgerald and Chad Peterson. And if you'd like to send us an email like David mention you can do that at contact at ashes ashes.
[1:57:29] But that's not the only way to contact us we actually have a phone number you can call in and leave a voice message that number is 31399 ashes that's 313-992-7437. I'm going to take all those messages and compile them into a call in show once we get enough of them from you so if you want to be part of that definitely give us a call leave us a message and if you are an international a listener doesn't want to make an international call. I don't blame you feel free to just record your question and either email it to us or posted to our Discord which you can find a link to on our website if you click the community button, Discord join that it's a great chat Community we love everyone on there there's a couple hundred of you and you are all great. Nova Sports your boat you can also reach out to us and follow us on your favorite social media Network at ashes ashes cast there's some great news stories memes and much more. Next week Daniel and I are going to be traveling, poor and upcoming the show we're excited about that but don't fret cuz you will still be getting an episode one of our enjoyable chat sessions and we both have a lot to talk about this all the things that we've done in the past couple weeks so, we're excited to share we hope you'll tune in for that but until then this is ashes ashes.