Hmmm. US carbon emissions from energy useage have been trending down:
…which I believe is related somewhat to this:
So…….the thing that people with kids hate about cities is the congestion; you have to commute to get the kids to soccer practice and to outdoor activities in general.
When you see estimates of how much (in terms of emissions) we’d save by not commuting, nobody ever seems to want to calculate the INCREASE in weekend commuting by urbanites who want outdoor activities; and when you have kids, those “reverse commutes” could be DAILY.
So, I’m not totally buying the “if we live in an dense we’d save so much in emissions” argument. Although I’m sure there’s a NET decrease in emissions, I don’t think its as large as purported to be.
So, that leaves house square footage. Economics is driving house prices up into the unaffordability range on a per square foot basis; as shown in the chart above, builders are compensating by building smaller units.
So, since we seemed doomed to only chip away at the automobile problem as you point out…….and it’s in people’s best interest to buy smaller places in the suburbs, and in some cases, perhaps even higher density buildings in the suburbs; these things are becoming pretty popular in the South, where they’re building brand new condo complexes in the suburbs on top of retail space.
Don’t forget, suburban living costs more in carbon than just the daily commute; it’s also the hop-in-the-car and go to the grocery store, to the mall, etc. If you have high density suburban living where the grocery and the mall is downstairs……that’s not a bad compromise.