How Can We "Uninvent" Suburbia?


Alex Williams writes in the New York Times that suburbanites are getting greener, quoting corn-burning environmental writer Mike Tidwell: "In the American suburbs, people are suddenly literate in the language of carbon emissions and carbon footprints," he said. "I'm hearing it in most mainstream places." Like at parties: "This very nonhippie, not-environmental-cliché-type woman I heard asking another person, 'I wonder what the carbon budget of these kiwis are?' " he said. "I was just astonished."

People are trying, installing wind turbines, clotheslines, walking kids to school, but ultimately it is not a matter of changing light bulbs. Williams writes: In the end, the very things that make suburban life attractive — the lush lawns, spacious houses and three-car garages — also disproportionally contribute to global warming. Suburban life, these environmentalists argue, is simply not sustainable.

"The very essence of the post-Second World War America suburb militates against 'greening,' " said Thomas J. Sugrue, a professor of history and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. "Given the almost complete dependency of suburbanites on the car, it's an uphill battle." ::New York Times

See also Andrew Revkin on ::Can We Uninvent Suburbia?