John Wasik, personal finance columnist for Bloomberg News, traveled the country assessing the status of our cities and the sprawl he calls “spurbs.” He details several in his new book, The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream. Wasik identifies the problems of overdevelopment and highlights areas that show promise, such as Gainesville, Florida, by protecting natural space and resources and promoting livable urban landscapes.
Wasik shares his perspective in The Huffington Post today:
Let’s start with a massive program to build decent, affordable and green housing. I’m not talking about dehumanizing public housing projects, but providing grants to private builders to make homes that are energy-efficient and produce their own power in human-scale, walkable communities. Provide some healthy tax credits for those who build on vacant lots or who tear down abandoned buildings. The most-generous breaks should go to those builders who work in the most distressed urban areas and create the most energy-stingy houses…
The American Dream as we know it was not sustainable. A new American Dream can be affordable, ecologically sound and socially beneficial. The price of this vision isn’t cheap, but we can’t afford to watch our dreams go up in smoke.
I had the pleasure to meet John in June when we were both fellows in a National Press Foundation program on retirement.