The Suburbs Keep On Growing

Even with increased awareness of global warning and more focus on urban living, the process of outward development continues in cities across America -- driven by homebuyers' continuing desire to own a piece of the American Dream.

"Standing in front of their new home, Alysia and Ryan Schramka and their 2-year-old daughter, Madison, look out across 600 acres of what recently were corn and soybean fields. At the moment, their view is of a barren landscape. The streets have been put into the naked ground but curve along lots where only weeds reside.

'We're ready,' Alysia said. 'We're excited.'

In early December, the Schramkas will become pioneers on the outer edge of the suburbs as one of the very first families in Ingham Park, 46 miles from the [Chicago] Loop on the far western border of Aurora, Illinois."

"They will move from northwest suburban McHenry County into the Ultima II -- a four-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath, two-story home with a three-car garage -- on Ayres Drive. The development is being built in the midst of a still-working farm with crops to the south and barns and silos to the north.

If Alysia and Ryan look farther out and into the future, they can see new subdivisions springing up to surround them. Shopping malls and office buildings also will rise. Roads will be built and congestion will follow."

"'I see no compelling reason for the outward push to stop, short of an energy crisis, and I'm not even convinced that would do it,' said Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at Loyola University Chicago. 'It didn't stop when Rogers Park was the outer edge in the 1900s. It didn't stop when Rolling Meadows was the outer edge in the 1950s. It didn't stop when Schaumburg was the outer edge in the 1970s.

'If it were just housing, it would be one thing, but it isn't. Jobs, shopping, hospitals -- everything sprawls out.'"

Full Story: Leaps of faith drive ever-expanding 'burbs



The Suburbs Keep Growing...

Joel Kotkin will be pleased.

Americans will never stop buying big houses, big cars, big plasma TVs... not unless a gun is pointed to their heads or unless the energy needed to fuel this culture of big literally runs out (and they're digging up northern Alberta to make sure that doesn't happen, just in case oil from the Middle East, Africa, or Venezuela gets shut off).

Global warming may someday change everything, but in the meantime the vast majority of Americans, like the family with their newly-minted monster house in the farmlands outside of Chicago, seem blissfully unconcerned.

Christopher C.

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