Tuesday, September 19, 2006

America the Spacious

While those of us who live on the Eastern seaboard of the United States feel hemmed in, the fact is that by World urban standards, we have a lot of space.

One of my favorite websites is http://alain-bertaud.com/. Alain has a wonderful gathering of information on urban environments around the world. Among his many great graphs, a particularly revealing one is the one to the left: it gives average urban densities for large cities around the world.

Note that American cities are in red: the densest of this, of course, is New York. But New York is less dense than European cities, and is much less dense than Asian and African cities. My home city of Washington is practically rural compared with most large cities around the world. But then, I am sure that someone from Mumbai would consider suburban Maryland and Virginia to be the countryside.

One of the reasons American cities have so little density is that the United States has a lot of land (only about five percent of which is developed) ; another reason is that the US is a rich country, and rich people buy more stuff, including land. But these reasons are only part of the story. More to come....


Anonymous said...

Having done some research into living conditions I have made the decision to move to the US! Apart from the medical care (which having just watched the film Sicko I am slightly concerned about) I have decided that there are more positives then negatives and am therefore very excited about the prospect of moving.
However I am concerned with purchasing a house, are mortgages over there the same as there are here? Do I need a large deposit and having spoke to a few people online I am concerned I wont be able to find a company to give me mortgage broker bonds.
and if I cant can I buy a house? Also I am familiar with the term surety bond so is a mortgage bond just a guarantee I will pay on time or is it more?

Anonymous said...

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Dear Sir/madam

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