Living in the suburbs is a selfish thing to do. Not only does it cost you more, it costs your neighbors and the entire planet more. The cost to build individual stand alone homes is significantly higher per person than living in the urban core. Today we will be exploring some of the costs associated with living in the suburbs.
Phase 1: The city has to run utilities all the way out to these neighborhoods to service them. This has a high initial cost and significantly higher maintenance cost due to the distance covered, and the number of people served per foot of piping.
Phase 2: Building the houses. Each house has a minimum of 5 sides exposed to the outside ambient temperature. This means they are far less efficient. They also lack common resources (one primary sewage pipe going into an apartment building can service many apartments) and individual wall structures, and roofing.
Phase 3: Living in your McMansion (if the bank paid for it, you cant afford it, so get over yourself debt slave). Daily costs such as heating and cooling rooms that you hardly use, watering a lawn you probably don't use. The pathetic attempt to plant generic trees in the spirit of "being green". Lack of any properly sized porch or community amenities that bring neighbors together. Over sized appliances which say "HE" on them, but reverse that by being gargantuan.
Phase 4: The joys of commuting. You wake up early and hop in your bank financed vehicle, crank up the Pandora and prepare to spend the next 45 minutes trapped in your mobile planet destroyer. Well done. Just to get to work you needed to waste all the C02 to build the vehicle in the first place, now you get to spend every day filling the air with more C02, just so you can get to work. Lets do some math! 45 minutes, twice a day, 5 days a week, for lets say 49 weeks a year (you work for a company with paid time off, which is how you think you can afford the McMansion and car)! That totals: 367.5 hours a year or 15.3 days per year sitting in your car, literally just trying to get to work. This doesn't count fuel stops and maintenance trips either. So you've wasted over 2 weeks of your life, loads of money, and helped destroy the planet. All so you can have a white picket fence and SUV.
The cost: You're a bank slave and waste so much money on this nonsense that retirement, especially early retirement is improbable. Even if you make enough money, you've heavily contributed to the destruction of our one planet.
Now lets talk about the urban dweller:
Phase 1: The city runs piping from the street where it already existed to your lot where the apartment complex is located, so maybe 50-70 feet of pipe from street to building main.
Phase 2: A 6-10 apartment complex is built where everyone uses the same utility mains, and can have anywhere from 2-5 common walls depending on where in the structure your particular apartment is.
Phase 3: Living in your apartment. You share walls with your neighbors and protect each other from outside exposure to ambient temperatures. Your rooms are appropriately sized and there is a community lawn. Between the 6-10 of you the lawn finally gets some use. To save space you have smaller more efficient appliances.
Phase 4: The joys of commuting. You get to wake up early and stroll down the beautiful sidewalks, with street trees and sining birds. The early morning sun warms your cheeks as you sip your coffee. You see your neighbors on their jog and wave hello. You've burned calories and raised your moral on the way to work. You walk in stress free and energized. If you live in the urban core, but a bit further from work you can bike, which is great cardio, and if you go slow you can avoid sweating in your nice clothes! Or you can take city transport where the C02 emissions of that vehicle are divided among all the passengers, and per person it emits much less than individual transportation. All in all, you saved money, saved the planet, and had a healthier happier life.
The cost: New shoes every 2.5-3 years.
Make your choices, but I'd rather live near other people and have more money, instead emitting an excess of C02, and having less money.