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Stranded Suburbs - HUGE foreclosure rates

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According to a Gold Seek radio documentary (20 June 3/4rds in) : Link

 

California's Central Valley (Stockton, CA) is "the epi-center of the subprime crisis"

+ Prices are down 30 -40%

+ One in four homes in foreclosure

 

Map- transport links

stockton_map_photo.gif..houseinthesuburbsak5.jpg..

 

From "beautiful suburban homes" in the Stockton area, some people planned to commute long distances to jobs in the area of San Francisco, Sacramento, or San Jose. Commuting times could be ... one hour or more.

 

Stockton is 80 miles east of San Francisco, and 80 miles north of San Jose.

 

How Stockton living was /and is/ being promoted:

"The uniqueness of California's Central Valley with Stockton at its center becomes apparent when we consider its attributes. Its location, midway between world famous San Francisco and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains, afford it a setting second to none. The area has an agreeable climate with warm, dry summers and mild winters. The San Joaquin Delta where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers meet before entering the San Francisco Bay, is an area rich with outdoor recreation opportunities. The Delta covers over 1,000 miles of navigable rivers, streams, and canals for fishing, boating and water sports. Within 1.5 to 2.5 hours of driving time Stockton residents can visit metropolitan San Francisco, the gold country of the Mother Lode, the Sierras, Napa Wine Country, ski bowls, the state capitol, Lake Tahoe and beautiful Pacific Ocean beaches. Yosemite National Park is just 2.5 hours away."

/source: BlowRealtors

 

Other Stranded suburbs are:

+ In Florida : xxx

+ In Colorado : xxx

+ Near Phoenix : xxx

+ Near Detroit : xxx (Northwest Detroit- where I grew up)

 

= = = = =

LINKS:

 

National Foreclosure map : http://bp2.blogger.com/_oTwEGiup_Wo/R_o38R...re_Map_6Apr.jpg

HPC City Centre flats : http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/ind...showtopic=79862

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They are blaming Wall Street, which is only partly right. Also to blame is the outmoded and wasteful

American dream, which had people believing they could buy a huge home in the suburbs, and then

commute to work an hour or more by car.

 

How much mention of commuting times is there in this documentary??

 

The Subprime Meltdown

By now, everyone has heard of "the subprime mortgage meltdown." It began in the U.S. but its effects are worldwide. Banks lent hundreds of billions of dollars to homebuyers who can't pay them back. Wall Street took the risky debt, dressed it up as fancy securities, and sold it around the world as safe investments.

Steve Kroft focuses on one hard hit city: Stockton, California.

 

/see: http://60minutes.yahoo.com/segment/134/subprime_meltdown

 

Here's a highly ironic documentary.

Notice how the report begins with a flash advertisement for an expensive car

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/25/...in3752515.shtml

 

"Western Ranch ...with 102 homes in foreclosure... $1.4 billion of loans in foreclosure in one community."

"You could buy a home here for just $240,000... You could get free loans."

Now: "Some homes are for sale as much as 70% off their highs, before the crisis began."

 

THEY DONT GET IT!! The mainstream media again misses the point.

It is about mal-investment in a wasteful living arrangement, and too much reliance on cars.

Did it ever really make sense to commute over 1 hour by car? Maybe when oil was $50,

but at over $100, and especially over $130, the whole wrong-headed dream falls apart.

 

= = = = =

 

HELP ME to identify other Stranded Suburbs in the US and the UK

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THEY DONT GET IT!! The mainstream media again misses the point.

 

I think you are wrong here. The heads of the media know exactly what is going on. They know that too many car-negative stories looses them advertising revenue. It's that simple. The 'liberal' press throws in the odd 'green' story but never enough to make a difference. Journalists who do not toe the line are not promoted within organisations. In this way, nothing need be said explicitly. I am sure no newspaper editor sits down and tells all their staff that they better not talk about driving or consuming less to help the planet, but anyone who does, maybe doesn't find thier stories published as much, and maybe doesn't get promoted as often. That way the 'right minded' journalists rise to the top.

 

The mass media are businesses and as businesses they act in the best interest of those that pay them. And that isn't the public.

 

See for example : http://www.medialens.org/alerts/07/070704_..._ice_sheets.php

 

Best wishes

Sylvester

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The mass media are businesses and as businesses they act in the best interest of those that pay them.

And that isn't the public.

 

"Vested Interests" (VI's) helped to pump up the property bubble,

and they are helping to hold up the bubble that is the "suburban project"

 

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The mass media are businesses and as businesses they act in the best interest of those that pay them.

And that isn't the public.

See for example : http://www.medialens.org/alerts/07/070704_..._ice_sheets.php

 

Good link.

George Monbiot wrote:

 

Dear David and David,

 

I am taking your request seriously and looking into the implications of the newspapers not carrying ads for cars, air travel and oil companies. Like you, I believe this is necessary if we are to have a chance of preventing runaway climate change. But if this call is to carry weight, I must be able to present an alternative: to demonstrate to news organisations, including the Guardian, that they can keep their heads above water while refusing this advertising.

..etc

 

,, reaction ,,

 

Dear George

 

Many thanks for your email and for taking our challenge seriously. A few obvious points spring to mind.

 

The first is that slave owners insisted for years that abolition was an economic impossibility - that turned out to be nonsense, of course, as well as being morally unsustainable.

 

Newspapers - as well as the motor racing industry - also shrieked about the impossibility of doing without tobacco advertising. But both appear to be thriving despite the loss. Why could the media not survive the loss of fossil fuel advertising?

 

The simple fact is that the media +have+ to change. If not, there will be no funding models, no advertisers, no media.

..etc.

 

INTERESTING DEBATE

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It looks like others are beginning to pick-up the phrase, "stranded suburbs"...

================================================

 

According to the documentary made by Gregory Green, The End of Suburbia, Americans began to make their exits out of cities at the start of the 1920's and completed their mass exodus by the end of the 1970's. Suburbia was sold to them as "country living" away from the toil and grind of the cities. It was created with the best of intentions - so that the common man such as plumbers and construction workers can own a home "in the countryside", just like the doctors and lawyers. Except most suburbs didn't have anything to do with true country living at all. It had no farms, no wild animals, no forests or creeks or anything that would be associated with the countryside. Because in order to make room for the rows upon rows of housing, all those things had to be destroyed in the process. So instead, most inhabitants got a front lawn, a backyard and that was it as far as "country" goes. Most suburbs today are a little more than a place where people sleep and shop. To work, they have to spend an hour on the road each way getting to the city.

 

Suburbia's infrastructure was built according to the demands of one of the biggest economic engines at the time - car companies. People would have to drive their cars as much as possible to get anywhere, and for awhile, everyone was fine with that. Americans liked the independence they felt while driving their cars and the car companies liked being the only game in town in terms of people's transport needs, and the country liked the high GDP all this buying and driving generated. Oil was cheap and plentiful and it was good times for everyone.

 

Like all festivities, this party on cheap oil is about to end soon. I would even argue, it has already ended. Most Americans are already feeling the economic pain of the $4 per gallon gasoline. Hybrids are the number one selling cars today while SUV's are being dumped like yesterday's trash with little or no trade-in value. As oil prices continue to climb, to $5 a gallon, $6, $7, $8, our world will be much different. Economists like Paul Krugman foresees stranded suburbs where people are utterly dependent on their cars but having a hard time affording the gas. Our country will be in a world of hurt for decades to come and here's why: the world is running out of oil. Oil is the basis of most things we do in this society from food production, transport to electricity generation. And electricity generation is the means to economic growth. Simply put, peak oil happens when the oil we drill from the ground is not enough to replace the ones already in barrels. Most experts predict that peak oil will arrive sometime in the next decade, and many geologists would even argue that it is already here.

 

...continues...

 

In order to get America through the oil crunch and solve global warming at the same time, a big part of the solution has to be people living closer to their amenities, their work, their shops, their entertainment centers, in distances where they can either walk to or ride a bike to. Which would mean moving back to the cities to live. Most Americans associate the city with "dangerous", "dirty" and "grimy". That would be an accurate description in the 1890's, but not so now.

 

Many major metropolitan cities are on board with New Urbanism as one of their primary goal of development: efficient public transit, energy-efficient townhouses, amenities within walking distance, public gardens and parks and bike friendly routes. If done right, it's the best of both worlds - a walkable way of life that is at the same time close to culture and jobs. A way of life that is less dependent on trying to drive everywhere, but actually having more time for living.

 

 

..source.. http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseacti...logID=400334797

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One of the commentators wrote:

 

The Credit Crunch

The True Cause

 

In my best selling book, "the Angry Black Man''s Guide to Success," in chapter eleven, I take a hard look at the credit rating agengies and how a system without transparency really caused the sub-prime mortgage crises that is destroying the financial markets around the world. While the Ferderal Reserve attempts to stop the inevitable, a market crash, they still are treating the symptoms but not the desease.

 

Many analyst are blaming easy credit but are missing the obvious. The credit rating system, or credit scores as they are more commonly known, are defective, faulty and wrong. The scoring system devised by Fair Issacs in 1961 initial purpose was to serve to speed up the process of approving or denying small consumer credit and store cards. Thus a system devised to approve purchases up to $500.00 is now being used to approve real estate purchases into the millions.

 

The credt scoring system eliminated the core basics of the three C''s of credit, which include Collateral, Character and Capacity, Collateral or assets did not apply which is why investors could buy multiple homes with no money down as long as thier score was above 700. Character took a flying leap out the window and Capacity to repay was never analyzed. No documentation was required or requested because the credit scoring system was considered infalable.

 

 

 

George Farrell

www.abmgts.blogspot.com

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in my best selling book, "the Angry Black Man''s Guide to Success," in chapter eleven, I take a hard look at the credit rating agengies and how a system without transparency really caused the sub-prime mortgage crises that is destroying the financial markets around the world. While the Ferderal Reserve attempts to stop the inevitable, a market crash, they still are treating the symptoms but not the desease.

A bit off topic, but I believe there have been rules which amounted to "affirmative action" for mortgages. This has contributed to making Cleveland ground zero for foreclosures.

 

Getting people into debts which they likely will default on is doing them no favour, quite the contrary.

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MORE on the Flight from the Suburbs - this from the Telegraph...

 

Even before the latest economic downturn, demand for urban living had been rekindled among two generations – the so-called "baby boomers" in their fifties and "millenials", the latter born between the late 1970s and mid-1990s.

 

Both are already drifting away from the suburbs, the baby boomers because they want smaller homes and more accessible amenities, and the millenials to rebel against their cul-de-sac upbringing.

 

Transportation is now the second biggest household expense in the US after housing. Much of the new demand for city homes is in neighbourhoods close to light railway stations, hastening the move away from a car culture.

 

Some towns around cities have responded to this exodus by rejecting suburban status and working hard to reinvent their own centres.

Americans are not just reconsidering their living arrangements because of the latest economic downturn.

 

Nearly 39 per cent of those surveyed in the Reuters/Zogby poll said they were considering changing holiday plans, while 31 per cent plan fewer restaurant visits.

 

 

/more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/...the-cities.html

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There must be alot of stranded suburbanites in the Phoenix area...

 

Arizona Land Rush - Canadians are rushing in

I think they may be too early

"We're Americans. We'll survive, right?"

 

Highways everywhere. Mass transit lacking

 

PhoenixMapWWoM400.jpg

 

Look at these property prices falls in Phoenix (per Schiller sub-index):

 

Jan.07 : 220.20

Feb.07 : 218.07

Mar.07 : 216.86

Apr.07 : 215.04

May.07 : 213.94

Jun.07 : 212.52

July.07 : 210.78

Aug.07 : 208.86

Sep.07 : 205.28

Oct.07 : 200.72

Nov07 : 194.45

Dec07 : 187.67

Jan.08 : 180.06 : - 40.14, - 18.2% year-on-year

Feb.08 : 172.72 : - 45.35, - 20.8%

Mar.08 : 166.97 : - 49.89, - xx.x%

Apr.08 : 161.33 : - 53.71, - xx-x%

 

The slide is picking up speed !

 

Here's what today's press release of the latest Schiller index said:

 

"Las Vegas and Miami continue to share the dubious distinction of being the weakest past 12 months returning -26.8% and -26.7%, respectively. These two markets witnessed some of the fastest growth in the 2004/2005 periods, with annual growth rates peaking above +53% and +32% respectively.

 

For the month of April, markets that experienced great gains in the recent real estate boom were the biggest decliners. Miami and Phoenix were the worst performers. Each had a negative return of 3% (month-on-month.)"

 

This compares with a Top 20 city index fall of -1.4% month-on-month.

 

/see: http://www2.standardandpoors.com/spf/pdf/i...ease_062418.pdf

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I only visited Phoenix once -without a hire car!

The bus service is meagre and expensive.

Beyond that you have to take cabs everywhere.

Take a look on Google maps - Phoenix city centre is

the airport :blink:

Without fuel, that place is screwed.

ABB

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Without fuel, that place is screwed.

ABB

 

Right. Hence the target painted on it. A target of the world's oil market - forcing change of US oil consumption.

The average US citizen cannot go on using 10x as much oil as the average Chinese or India, and 3x as much as the average European. The market will push up US dollar oil prices until US habits & living arrangements change.

 

Meantime, those who are stuck with suburban homes are trying to offload foreclosed properties on "rich" Canadian snowbirds:

 

Canadians snap up Arizona Real Estate (1 of 2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_1eMW0XQ40

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FACING REALITY

 

Here's a little drama of a couple facing the reality of discovering they are jobless

and Stranded in the Suburbs. (his former job? A truck driver.)

 

If The Oil Runs Out : 5 of 6

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ajFNlEdRzGw

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Even before the latest economic downturn, demand for urban living had been rekindled among two generations – the so-called "baby boomers" in their fifties and "millenials", the latter born between the late 1970s and mid-1990s.

I live in Surrey, and couples with young kids are flooding out of London and moving in here. In fact I play footie with other Dads from a parents club thing, and only 1 other person out of 20 or so has not moved out of London in the last 3 years. People do not see London as a safe place to bring up kids.

 

For me, the train link into London is very good (25 mins into Waterloo). Heathrow, direct coach 20 mins. Even a refurbished canal at the end of my road :blink: . No one would drive into town even before the petrol price exploded, as it would take 1.5 hrs plus. I think if petrol prices keep going up (or even rationing) towns like this will be even more desirable not less.

 

I do agree with the general premise that some quite large town will be shafted by the end of cheap fuel. Good public transport will be key to whether suburban towns wither or not.

 

As a side issue, does anyone have any opinion on whether solar panels will be cheaper or more expensive in the next few years? Mass demand should bring the price down in the long term unless there are specific rare elements required in their construction making scaling production difficult. I'm thinking of getting some but assume (given the site name) there are people here clued up on: sales expectations for the next few years, and mass production issues.

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Australian outer suburbs are in trouble.

High petrol prices hitting outer suburbs

 

June 27, 2008 - 2:55PM

 

The price of an affordable house in the outer suburbs for some is having to spend more than they can afford on the soaring cost of fuel, experts say.

 

As petrol prices close in on $2 a litre, the mounting fuel bill has made the decision to live further from the central business district (CBD) a financially painful one for those that commute by car.

 

For those who made the switch from the inner city, revisiting that choice is now very difficult, given high interest rates, in some cases stagnant house prices and fierce competition for property close to the CBD.

 

Dr Bob Birrell, a director at the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University, said the price of property in the middle and inner suburbs was now out of reach for many.

 

"Most of them will simply have to adjust to the higher petrol price because they really don't have any other alternative," Dr Birrell said this week.

 

"It certainly means that the cost of living for these people is biting. They are being hit both ways - by the increase in interest rates and by the cost of commuting."

 

Victorian Council of Social Service, (VCOSS) policy and public affairs manager David Imber said higher petrol prices had wiped out any financial benefits of living in the outer suburbs.

http://news.theage.com.au/business/high-pe...80627-2xxt.html

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...

If The Oil Runs Out : 5 of 6

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ajFNlEdRzGw

Thanks for posting this, Bubb. I watched the whole film with my wife during breakfast. Although she's pretty fed up with my fixation to the economic collapse & gold, she found this piece highly interesting.

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Thanks for posting this, Bubb. I watched the whole film with my wife during breakfast.

Although she's pretty fed up with my fixation to the economic collapse & gold, she found this piece highly interesting.

If The Oil Runs Out : 5 of 6

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ajFNlEdRzGw

Yes,

I think it brings the message home in a watchable sort of way.

It's great to see this sort of message finally appearing in the media.

Maybe the great mass of people will start to "get it" now!

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I was thinking if, and how much worse this is for the US than for the UK, trying to gauge how deeply the UK is likely to fall down the same hole, and while I believe stranded suburbs is less of an issue in the UK generally, there will be places affected because gasoline is so much more expensive. One place i can think of serious impact is in the Scottish highlands where even getting shopping can be a huge trek. Granted, many people double-up their homes as guest houses for tourists, but there are still a lot of 'commuters' who have basically no public transport options.

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I was thinking if, and how much worse this is for the US than for the UK...

 

Right.

Because the UK built its suburbs around rail transport decades ago. The links are still there.

 

The US built its suburbs around the highway system.

Low gasoline taxes in the US, have allowed alloweed suburban living to be the focus of the last 6-7 years

of mal-investment

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If The Oil Runs Out : 5 of 6

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ajFNlEdRzGw

Yes,

I think it brings the message home in a watchable sort of way.

It's great to see this sort of message finally appearing in the media.

Maybe the great mass of people will start to "get it" now!

INTERESTING THAT THE $160 PER BARREL SHOCK WAS TO COME IN 2016.

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INTERESTING THAT THE $160 PER BARREL SHOCK WAS TO COME IN 2016.

Yeah. 8 years for another $20 should be sufficient.

 

Right.

Because the UK built its suburbs around rail transport decades ago. The links are still there.

 

The US built its suburbs around the highway system.

Low gasoline taxes in the US, have allowed alloweed suburban living to be the focus of the last 6-7 years

of mal-investment

Yes, the UK is built more compact. People do live in the City centres, and nearby (not exclusively, but more so than in the US in general). And because of the high taxation, there is more room to let prices rise slowlier (although, I wouldn't count on it).

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Long, detailed article in the Telegraph covering the topics of this thread:

 

America and China: The Eagle and the Dragon Part two: Requiem for a dream

 

"Once symbolic of optimism and certainty, America's credit-crunched suburbs may be facing a decline as dramatic as that of Detroit, itself once a beacon of industry. Mick Brown and the photographer Alec Soth continue their investigation into the contrasting fortunes of the US and China.................."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Long, detailed article in the Telegraph covering the topics of this thread:

America and China: The Eagle and the Dragon Part two: Requiem for a dream

 

sm_america1.jpg

Outside, on a scrubby patch of untended grass, is a sign posted by the Michigan Register of Historic Sites stating that this was the factory where, in 1913, Henry Ford began the mass production of automobiles on a moving assembly line. By 1915 Ford had built a million of his Model Ts; by 1925 more than 9,000 were being assembled in a single day.

 

Mass production, the sign reads, soon moved from here to all places of American industry 'and set the pattern of abundance for 20th-century living'.

 

It is a wonderfully evocative phrase that stops you in your tracks - the pattern of abundance for 20th-century living. From here came the principles of mass production that provided the goods that fuelled the consumer society; from here, the automobile that begat the roads and the freeways that carried people and goods from sea - as America the Beautiful has it - to shining sea, and then to the world beyond.

 

brilliant stuff

 

Africa - Detroit?

 

"In 1950 Detroit was America's fourth largest city, with a population of nearly two million. The population is now less than 900,000, 82 per cent of which is Afro-American.

 

This exodus of people and commerce to the suburbs resulted in a massive shift of capital, and a declining tax-base in the inner-city. While Oakland County, the wealthy suburb to the north, is one of the most affluent areas in America, Detroit itself is the country's most impoverished city - not only a synonym for urban decay, but a repository of all of America's most intractable problems: the decline of manufacturing and the threat of competition from overseas; racial tensions; a housing market decimated by the subprime mortgage crisis. More than a third of Detroit's residents live at or below the federal poverty line. Ironically, in the city that gave America the automobile, more than a fifth of households do not own a car.

 

Detroit has the second largest amount of freeway lane miles of any metropolitan area in America, after Kansas City. And it is the only city in America without a rapid transport system - the legacy of years of resistance by the powerful lobby of the car industry that dictated that workers should drive their own products rather than taking public transport.

 

One of the city's most astonishing architectural relics is the Michigan Central Station, a towering, beaux-arts structure built in 1913. The last train pulled out in 1988. But like many of Detroit's great ruins it had proved too expensive to renovate, too expensive to demolish, and so had been left to stand, an enduring testament to the city's decline, and a reproof to its plans for regeneration.

 

It is tempting to speculate that Detroit defined both the beginning and the end of Henry Ford's industrial dream. In 1920 one third of all jobs in America were in industry; today only 11 per cent are. The decline of Detroit has been mirrored to a lesser degree by many cities - Cleveland, Flint, Gary - in the industrial 'rust-belt' of the North, all scrabbling to readjust, with varying degrees of success, to the new American 'information economy'.

 

But Ford's greatest legacy was the car and all that grew from it. As Christopher Leinberger, a professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan, points out, the nature of the American dream has always been driven by the underlying economy of the age. In 1800, at the time of the first census, more than 90 per cent of Americans were engaged in agriculture. 'The American dream at that point could be summarised by the Civil War expression "40 acres and a mule". In the post-war era, one-third of the American economy was related directly, or indirectly, to the building of automobiles - steel, cars, roads, petroleum, insurance. There was an expression that GM used "See the USA in your Chevrolet" - so as you travelled the roads of America in your car you were making yourself and the country wealthier'.

 

The car become synonymous with America's most cherished ideal - freedom: the freedom to go, to move, to be wherever you chose.

 

In the 1950s, at the behest of President Eisenhower and his Federal Highway Act, the freeway system that had started in Detroit spread across America, eclipsing the railway as the main artery of travel and transport. At the same time, the direct subsidies of the suburban road infrastructure shortened the commuting time between urban centres and suburbs, hastening the flight of people, businesses and investment from the inner cities.

 

More than just a place to live, the suburbs became the archetypal American dreamscape. The family home with the white picket fence; peaceful streets where the kids could play; a sense of community and belonging, a place of quiet adjustments and small consolations, away from the clamour and dangers of the city.

 

The growth of the suburbs was driven by planning laws, designed to eliminate urban overcrowding, that made it illegal to build mixed-use projects of high density - the characteristic of an old-fashioned Main Street - and dictated that development should instead spread ever outwards. The green fields were devoured by ever more housing developments (or subdivisions as they are called) of identikit 'McHouses', linked by anonymous strip-malls, blighted with corporate signage for chain motels, car dealerships and fast-food outlets, off-ramp 'office parks', and 'big-box' stores. The dreamscape has become one huge twilight zone of anonymous sprawl. As the writer Tom Wolfe once observed of the suburbs of Atlanta, the only way you can tell you are leaving one and entering the next is when the fast-food outlets start repeating themselves. And all of it utterly subservient to the automobile, utterly dependent on the readily available supply of cheap fuel. While other developed nations have reduced or held steady on their oil consumption since the oil shocks of the 1970s and 1980s, America's consumption has actually increased by 21 per cent - while domestic oil production has been on a steady downward trajectory since its peak in 1970.

 

The world burns 85 million barrels of oil a day, and the US alone consumes a quarter of that amount - of which more than half goes to road transport: the US has the least fuel-efficient cars on the roads, the lowest energy taxes, and the longest daily commutes of any industrialised nation."

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DRIVE UNTIL YOU QUALIFY - (from the same article)

 

There is hardly a corner of America that remains untouched by the subprime debacle; but the city that by the end of 2007 had claimed the dubious distinction of having the highest number of foreclosures per capita in the US was Stockton, California. A city of 290,000 people, in recent years Stockton has itself become a dormitory suburb for the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Silicon Valley towns of San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto, some 60 miles to the west.

 

In the last quarter of 2007, Stockton posted one foreclosure for every 31 households. And the area with the highest rate of foreclosures in Stockton was Weston Ranch. A huge housing development begun in 1990 on a stretch of farmland south of town, and which has sprawled over the years to encompass some 7,000 properties, Weston Ranch is a prime example of what is known in property parlance as 'drive until you qualify': if you can't afford to live in a community close to your work, you hit the freeway, driving until you reach somewhere where the land for building is cheaper and the houses therefore more affordable.

 

/see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/main.jht...m_america05.xml

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The Gong is the heads of American suburbanites,

and Mr.Oil Market will keep beating on it, until they 'get it'. "

 

gong1.jpg

 

 

The suburbs had once been the repository of American certainty and optimism; now they embodied the fears for the future that resonated through every quarter of American life. 'The suburbs were the heart of the American dream,' says Christopher Leinberger, a professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan. 'That dream doesn't exist any more because we loved it to death. But we're still trying to live by it. And it's become a nightmare for millions of people who've seen their housing values go down, and the price of getting to work and just going about their lives go up dramatically.'

 

He foresees a gradual return to urban living. The 'McHouses' will be broken up into rental apartments or they will be abandoned, 'just like the centres of cities were abandoned in the 1960s and 70s'; the suburbs will become the new slums.

 

James Howard Kunstler takes a yet more apocalyptic view. He believes that on the current projections of oil supply America will see the beginnings of 'a major collapse' of suburbia within the next 10 years, which no amount of 'wishful thinking' about alternative energy supplies will be able to arrest:

 

'We are not going to run Wal-Mart, the Interstate Highway system and Walt Disney World on any combination of solar, wind, nuclear, biofuels, ethanol or used french-fry potato oil. The bottom line is that we will use all these things but we will be very disappointed in what they will actually do for us. The problem is too big. The design of our living arrangement is simply inconsistent with the energy realities of the future...

 

'More than half of the American public live in the suburbs. There is going to be a very strong expectation that they will be supported and that their troubles will be attended to. But what we're seeing with the mortgage crisis is that people who have made their stand in the suburbs are being hung out to dry, because there's nothing that can be done for them without bankrupting the nation.'

 

Kunstler predicts a future of economic disarray, political turbulence, 'and quite a high potential for social turbulence as a result'.

 

/see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/main.jht...m_america05.xml

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