So long suburbia

A new study published by the Environmental Protection Agency in the US has indicated that construction in urban cores and older suburbs of US cities is beginning to catch up with the pace of home construction in the outer suburbs – meaning that the ‘suburban sprawl’ may be beginning to slow.

In a study of the 50 largest metropolitan regions in the US, the EPA found that in 26 of them the percentage of growth occurring downtown has doubled or tripled since 2000. Using data on residential building permits over the last two decades, the study found that the pace of downtown growth has especially picked up over the last five years.

The report calls this a “fundamental shift in the real estate market,” noting that suburban and exurban areas were apparently hit harder by the real estate downturn than more central areas. This is good news, since the ‘suburban’ lifestyle is one of the biggest sources of waste and carbon emissions. It fuels our dependency on the car as the primary means of personal transport, and as populations grow is increasingly unsustainable.

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