“Rethinking the Country Life as Energy Costs Rise,” was the NYT story yesterday:
Suddenly, the economics of American suburban life are under assault as skyrocketing energy prices inflate the costs of reaching, heating and cooling homes on the distant edges of metropolitan areas.
Just off Singing Hills Road, in one of hundreds of two-story homes dotting a former cattle ranch beyond the southern fringes of Denver, Phil Boyle and his family openly wonder if they will have to move close to town to get some relief.
But life on the edges of suburbia is beginning to feel untenable.
Mr. Boyle and his wife must drive nearly an hour to their jobs in the high-tech
corridor of southern Denver. With gasoline at more than $4 a gallon, Mr.
Boyle recently paid $121 to fill his pickup truck with diesel fuel. In
March, the last time he filled his propane tank to heat his spacious house,
he paid $566, more than twice the price of 5 years ago.
Though Mr. Boyle finds city life unappealing, it is now up for
“Living closer in, in a smaller space, where you don’t have that commute,”
he said. “It’s definitely something we talk about. Before it was ‘we spend
too much time driving.’ Now, it’s ‘we spend too much time and money
… In Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Minneapolis, homes beyond the
urban core have been falling in value faster than those within, according
to an analysis by Moody’s Economy.com.
… More than three-fourths of prospective home buyers are now more inclined to
live in an urban area because of fuel prices, according to a recent survey
of 903 real estate agents with Coldwell Banker, the national brokerage
… “I was so glad to get out of the city, the pollution the traffic, the
crime,” [Juanita Johnson] said. Now, the suburbs seem mean. “I wouldn’t do this again.”
Could this be the beginning of the end of sprawl?