Poverty is now located in the suburbs

Eric Garland Uncategorized 3 Comments

suburban-povertyThis is a headline that could only come from an American. In Europe, the city centers were never abandoned in favor of a cheap imitation of country estates, and distance from downtown has always meant poverty.

But in America, we thought that we could forge a brand new land use pattern based on the automobile. Wealth could be located away from the city center (where racial tensions roiled hotly in the mid-20th century) thanks to cheap and presumably endless petroleum.

The Burbs have always been a sort of resource Ponzi scheme, requiring ever more capital to flow in through the bottom of the pyramid. In the last decade, America supplanted billions in bad loans for actual capital. Today, even that is gone.

If we’re lucky, we can invest in downtowns and public transport before the Burbs rot out from under us.