Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream. But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge...
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The modern suburbs have ultimately become an unsustainable way of living. They were originally developed in an era of cheap oil, when the automobile became the center of the way people lived and an era when people wanted to escape the inner city to a more pastoral or rural way of life. However the suburbs quickly evolved into a merely a place to live that had neither the benefits of rural or urban life, and where one was reliant on an automobile both to travel elsewhere and even travel within the neighborhood. The suburbs are not only dependent upon cheap energy, but also reliable energy. The reliability of energy is becoming less so as demonstrated by the multi-day blackout of the North American Eastern Seaboard starting on August 14, 2003. Part of the problem of getting out of the suburban mentality is that a generation has grown up believing it to be a normal way of life, and a life of entitlement, which they will not give up without a fight. But many developers and planners and ...
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The End Of Suburbia (TEOS) is a very useful film. It's also important and provocative. There seems to be no middle ground with either the film or its main source of entertainment, the anti-sprawl Meister, James Howard Kunstler. nnWhile I am not a big fan of the New Urbanism, my criticism of it is because of its small vision. In the case of New Urbanist Peter Calthorpe - another talking head - you finally hear what's somewhat obvious in and amongst the special added TEOS out-takes... Calthorpe just doesn't understand peak oil. nnI've used this as a teaching tool in economics classes to get at the importance of land as a factor of production - a fact long diminished by Neoclassical Economics - and also as a vehicle for educating about: peak oil, our wastrel land use, global warming, our threatened food production, public transit our compromised futurennMove over South Park! .... Made by Canadians from Toronto for $25,000 and released in May 2004, this video sold over 24,000 copies by October 2005. One major DVD rental vendor recently ordered almost 400 more copies.nnThe End Of Suburbia sales were actually climbing 1 1/2 years after its release and it has also been available on one of the major online video services since September 2005.nnA sequel, Escape From Suburbia, is in the works with a possible release by August 2006.
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