Sunday, May 1, 2011

Density is green

Ed Glaeser's new book makes the point:

Living out of town may feel green, but it isn’t. Americans live too far apart, drive too much and walk too little. The tax- deductibility of mortgage interest encourages people to buy houses rather than rent flats, buy bigger properties rather than smaller ones and therefore to spread out. Minimum plot sizes keep folk out of, say, Marin County, California. He sees it as an indictment of planning that spreading Houston has “done a better job of providing affordable housing than all of the progressive reformers on America’s East and West coasts.” Mr Glaeser hopes, for the planet’s sake, that China and India choose density over sprawl and public transit over the car. If his own country set a better example, there might be more chance of persuading them.

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