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« How It All Ends | Main | The People's Transportation Plan for DC »

February 24, 2008


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I believe poverty can make its way to the burbs, regardless of poor transportation options. I grew up in a poor section and back then there was no bus service anywhere in the county. Poor people get around by sharing rides and driving junkers. I saw the same thing out in Western Massachusetts where there was one little rinky dink bus system meant to service the 5 colleges (Smith, UMASS, etc) and you had your poor there too. If the rents are cheaper out in the burbs, then the poor will go there.

Commuter 182

Sounds like fear-mongering from the anti-suburban and anti-automobile crowd. While some suburban areas may deteriorate and become future slums, other developing factors can also prevent that from happening:
1. The development of plugin-hybrids, full electric, fuel-cell, or other technologies that make lack of fossil fuels less of a factor and prolongs the use of automobiles.
2. Extension of commuter rail, managed lanes (HOV, HOT), and more commuter buses leaving from Park & Ride lots further out into the burbs to counter the increasing traffic.
3. Development of employment centers in suburban towns further away from downtown areas and closer out to "Sprawland".

IMHO, the suburbs are less likely to attract poverty, and hence, crime, than say, a blighted urban area. The reason is that to even live in the burbs, you have to be able to afford transportation, most likely an automobile. But blighted urban areas have no problem accommodating the immobile poor with either public transportation or "amnenities" such as crack houses within walking distance.

If suburbs still go into decline despite all of the above, they won't all become slums. Because declining real estate prices can also attract developers looking for opportunity, most burbs that become unsustainable may be transformed into one of the following:
1. Revert back to farmland.
2. Regional Parks or golf courses
3. Industrial use away from populated areas.
4. Re-zoned into denser, village or town-like communities.
5. Become exclusive communities for the truly wealthy. These people will always be able to afford transportation regardless of what happens to oil prices and they will tear down the McMansions to make room for their real ones.

Kevin Beekman

I don't think that Leinberger is the one who coined the term "Lifestyle Centers". I think that came from investment types trying to commoditize real estate into categories. Leinberger has some papers about this on his website. See his paper about the "Nineteen Standard Real Estate Product Types" at:

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