I lived in the suburbs for many years so I certainly understand why people live there. The schools are often better, the houses much cheaper, the neighbors more engaged with each other, and the crime rates typically lower. However, suburbs are causing numerous problems that are partly detrimental to those who live there and partly detrimental to all of us. Big houses full of largely unused space cost a lot of money and resources to heat and cool. Large lawns require lots of water, time, and gas to keep looking acceptable. Pretty much every errand involves a car trip costing time, money, and resources. Commutes often eat up a quarter of the personal outside of work waking hours (also costing resources and money).
The mantra of real estate - Location, Location, Location - could also be the mantra of environmentalists.
Living in Los Angeles (or centrally in any large city) drastically reduces the time, money, and resources expended on running errands. Where we live we can walk to:
- grocery stores
- convenience stores
- car repair and body shops
- if we had kids they could walk to the elementary, middle, high school, and the community center
- shopping mall
- every conceivable type of restaurant (burgers, bbq, Mexican - multiple regional styles, Italian, pizza, Indonesian, Thai, Indian - multiple regional styles, Chinese, vegan, the list could go on and on ...)
- barber shops
- post office
I'm not tooting our own horn, but rather encouraging people to think twice about why they live where they live. I'm not sure why we lived in the suburbs as long as we did! Yes, the rent on our studio apartment is more than the mortgage on our 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house was, but the savings in household bills, upkeep, gas, and most especially time, more than offset the difference.