Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Poverty of Edge Cities

As I indicated yesterday, transportation policy at the federal level in the US is moving towards placing greater burden on state & local governments as well as individual users.

The same trend is happening in Canada where the provincial governments are "downloading" expenses to municipalities.

Frank D'Amico--a former city councilor in Hamilton, Ontario--has an interesting op-ed piece that shows how many of Ontario's edge cities are facing more financial burdens as provincial funding has dried up while the costs for maintaining sewers, roads, sidewalks, etc.. continue to increase.

Edge cities are hit particularly hard because of the sprawling land use which results in inefficient use of public resources.

On a somewhat related note, James Howard Kunstler takes issue with a recent New York Times piece extolling the urban virtues of Las Vegas.

Kunstler observes that, like the meretricious nature of Vegas' economic base of gambling, the long term sustainability of Vegas' growth is questionable. Situated in a desert, built in a sprawling, low density fashion, Vegas relies on two things for its functioning: ample water supply & low fossil fuel prices.

With the Colorado slowly drying up and the global demand for dwindling supplies of fossil fuels continuing, the long term future for the Western metropolis will either require significant increases in taxes or a transformation in land use and environmental conservation.

(Linked to Outside the Beltway)