Thursday, April 12, 2007

Drive till you qualify drives sprawl

Qualify for a mortgage that is, and or just an affordable place to live.

One of the most senseless realities of economics in regards protecting the environment.

Drive out from the city till you find an affordable place to live. Drive out till you qualify for a mortgage. Lower income people having to move farther out usually means more driving and sprawl into rural environments.

This may be one of the biggest environmental problems we face. Things need to be done to remedy this bad economic reality.

Solutions include:

* In-filling in the cities and towns to provide more affordable housing for both renters and owners.

* Population control.

* Public transit, rather than automobiles, out to some of the hinterlands so people who live out there don't have to drive so much.

* The Internet and tele-commuting to cut down on that long commute to work.

* Clustered development in the hinterlands.

* People not expecting to live in such large houses or yards.

* Higher gas prices and / or lower property values, thus creating a different market environment so "drive till you qualify" no longer makes economic sense.

Economic sense and environmental sense need to match up in a better way.

Here is a cartoon idea about low and moderate income people facing two monsters.

Monster in the city is high property values / rents and mortgages.

Monster in the country is rising gas prices.

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