Not Worth Caring About


James Kunstler, author of Geography of Nowhere and The Long Emergency, has always had it in for the suburban blight that mars North America. Sharing the same sentiment, I was intrigued by a talk he gave titled “The tragedy of suburbia”. I’ve embedded the video below.

Towards the end of the video Kunstler talks about our belief in technology, that it’ll rescue us, stave off the need for radical change. As a result he says, “we are sleepwalking into the future”. Words directed at Americans, but equally applicable here.

This is especially apparent in the spaces I inhabit. Spaces that are little more than a group of detached dwellings connected by arteries of asphalt – optimistically called a ‘city’. Warnings about the enormous social and environmental impact of (sub)urban sprawl were surfacing almost a decade ago; we’re still building out. The environment is supposedly the top issue on Canadians’ minds; we’re still building out. And all across Canada – the same pattern.

We are sleepwalking into the future.


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  • I don’t think it’s that simple. Toronto has a number of downtown condo towers that look like wastelands at the base.

    High density, while laudable, should be achieved in conjunction with other factors, especially a focus on the street. A building should not be disconnected at the street-level. People should be encouraged to interact with it, flow in and out etc. Too many buildings have blank-faced ground floors, imposing lobbies or acres of pavement between the curb-edge and their door. Hardly ‘inviting’.