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....