Urban Sprawl Is Literally Stranding the Poor
Paul Krugman thinks social mobility is suffering, poor stay poor
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jul 29, 2013 1:10 PM CDT
Updated Jul 29, 2013 1:41 PM CDT
This Oct. 24, 2012, photo shows an empty field north of Detroit's downtown.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(Newser) – Detroit spent the last decade spiraling into bankruptcy, while Atlanta spent it growing like mad. But the two cities have something in common: "Both are places where the American dream seems to be dying," writes Paul Krugman at the New York Times. Social mobility is low in both cities—meaning the poor are staying poor. Why? Well, a new study suggests that it might be because they're just too spread out. "Sprawl may be killing Horatio Alger."

The study found that social mobility was correlated with how far apart various classes lived from each other. "In Atlanta, poor and rich neighborhoods are far apart because, basically, everything is far apart; Atlanta is the Sultan of Sprawl," Krugman writes. "Disadvantaged workers often find themselves stranded; there may be jobs available somewhere, but they literally can't get there." We need to build smarter, more compact population centers that let families get by without multiple cars. Click for Krugman's full column.

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Showing 3 of 59 comments
Jul 31, 2013 3:49 PM CDT
What made suburbia possible 50 years ago was cheap gasoline. The only thing that could possibly save it is the electric car. That is, when they become as cheap as regular cars, or cheaper. Electric cars can easily provide the equivalent of 100 mpg or better. That's because the electric engine is easily three times as efficient as the most efficient internal combustion engine (ICE). Another factor that might save suburbia will be the cheaper solar panels of the future. Barring the latter, the rise of Asia and rapidly increasing petroleum demands from China, India, et al., means that gasoline prices will not go down by much, if at all. And as long as they do not, and since real wages will not be increasing much into the future, the now poor in suburbia will remain trapped until they are foreclosed upon.
Jul 30, 2013 11:20 AM CDT
Krugman, like Obama, wants everyone to live on HIS compound. It's what's BEST for them, even thought they are too ignorant to know it.
Jul 29, 2013 11:17 PM CDT
In Manhattan if New York City you can get a tiny room to live in for $2,000 a month, and some think this is cheap. You can get some fresh air if you go to New Jersey if you can afford the $13.00 per car tolls on the GW Bridge or the two Hudson River tunnels. There's no sprawl in NYC, you live cheek to jowel even when you venture into jammed streets.