Don't fall for sprawl
I haven't written many rants to the leters pages this year. I thought I might have a go at John Macalister's letter today (continuing with his insistence that the waterfront is about to be "built-up"), but the whole waterfront debate is getting a bit stale and it's nice to look at the good things that are happening. Instead, I thought that the Demographia "report" promoting suburban sprawl demanded a critical attack, and not just in an obscure blog. So I wrote a letter (mostly adpated from my post the other day) and sent it off to the Dominion Post:
How sweet of Hugh Pavletich to care about the affordability of housing. In reality, what actually concerns him and right-wing American lobby group Demographia is the ability of suburban property developers to make a quick profit from subdivisions while externalising the cost of infrastructure.
We're already running out of land that's close enough to the city to enable cheap, sustainable transport. The price of a house is only part of the story: how "affordable" will it be to live in his sprawling, car-dependent suburbs when oil prices soar even higher? Meanwhile, the entire city shares the costs of roading, sewerage and water, as well as having to put up with increased pollution, road deaths and having motorways driven through our neighbourhoods.
We need more housing supply, but in medium-density mixed-use communities close to the city or public transport, not further and further out into the countryside. Pavletich, on the other hand, can't wait to convert the country into a debased landscape of McMansions, megamalls and motorways, pocketing the profit while the rest of us pay for the physical and civic infrastructure required to turn it into some semblance of a city.