Monday, October 17, 2011

Commute Times

In this article the author shows the data collected by OECD about the time it takes for people to commute to work in different countries. The United States was 4th out of the 23 countries shown in the article's data. As we have learned in our readings the average person in the United States has far more open space to live on than people in most other countries. New Urbanists and people opposed to sprawl often point to an increase in pollution as a negative effect of sprawl. The sample of data given in the article seems to say that the New Urbanists do not have a valid point. If commuters in the United States have quicker commutes to work than their European counterparts who live in far more congested areas then I think something right is happening. To sum it up, citizens in the United States live in bigger houses on bigger properties and STILL have quicker commutes to work than people in Europe. My question is why would New Urbanists want to change what we have? Some data does point to increased pollution from the sprawl we have but data can be twisted to prove what it wants (as shown in the article I posted that have two completely different data sets after trying to capture the same data). European cities, even though more concentrated than the ones in the US are often viewed as dirty old cities that are full of pollution themselves. New Urbanists are trying to fix something that is not broken, so stop. This is just another example of people seeing something they view as a problem and trying to change people's behavior to achieve a desired outcome which in the end makes most people worse off.

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