Moving towards a post Suburban America

I just watched “Sprawling from Grace: The Consequences of Suburbanization” on Netflix. Click the link and do a freebie trial and watch it.

I agree with the proposed solutions in this movie. It isn’t going to be just one solution though I do have great hope for electric vehicles. It’s going to be a multitude of different energy sources.

But I need to explain something. I got away from the urban environment for a few years. It wasn’t suburban per se, but it lacked the easy access to necessities if you didn’t have a car.

Just to remind you I live in Providence, Rhode Island.. See the marker labeled “A”? From my door to that point is 1.3 miles. That’s easily walkable within 20 minutes for me, maybe shorter or longer for others.

The point is, Providence is a very walkable city. Within 1.3 miles in any direction from where I live there are supermarkets, specialty stores, educations institutions, theaters (both performance and concert), a mall, and government offices. The train station is 1.8 miles from my door. The main transit hub for RIPTA is 1.1 miles from my door. Did I mention, the train station near the airport is almost complete so I literally do not need a car to get around in my city.

But back to the point of the movie. We cannot sustain suburbanization in this country. It is in short, an unlivable situation. Back two years ago we got a taste of what $4 per gallon gasoline did. A former co-worker and I did a thought experiment one day to figure out what we called the “pain point” would be for a gallon of gasoline. We arrived at $6 per gallon as the painful figure that would radically change the way we lived.

Our politicians are famous for not thinking past the now. There is very little attention paid to the consequences of continued suburbanization though some are waking up to the facts very quickly. We need governments to implement comprehensive plans to bring people back to the cities, and maybe even grow those cities at the same time.

I grew up in this city and wherever I’ve lived everything was in walking or biking distance. My friends and I would regularly bike from Providence, RI to Lincoln Woods State Park in Lincoln, RI (7.5 miles), not to mention the parks available in Providence like Roger Williams Park (Photo of the Temple to Music), and even Waterplace Park at the confluence of the Moshasuck, Woonasquatucket and Providence rivers.

We need more cities like Providence, Boston, NYC, et al.

3 thoughts on “Moving towards a post Suburban America

  1. And on what Mark said, I think that frankly Rhode Island can try all it wants to draw jobs in, but as long as Americans continue making the types of lifestyle choices they’ve made, RI will never live up to its potential ever again. We, more than ANY other state, simply cannot afford sprawl, because every patch of green earth here is precious. As long as there is no room for sprawl here, nobody will choose to live here.

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