Monday, August 22, 2005

Sprawl Kills By: Lezah

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Here’s a website I stumbling across while looking up the band The Kills: it’s, homepage of the book by the same name. Authored by Joel S. Hirschhorn, Ph.D., the book ‘Sprawl Kills: How Blandburbs Steal Your Time, Health, and Money’, promises to be an interesting read. And it’s a subject close to my own heart.

I think I’ve always been a bit of a small ‘e’ environmentalist especially in the area of land use. I live on the outskirts of Vancouver, which, if you’ve never been here before, sits on the edge of the ocean, flanked by mountains, in between which sits the fertile Fraser Valley. Rich farmland with one of the best and most moderate climates in Canada is being eaten up at an alarming rate in this area. And this is not a renewable resource. Statistically, although Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world, only about 5% of it is arable land. The rest is, for the most part, rock.

Consequently, it makes sense for what farmland we have to be preserved, and yet housing developments, parking lots, strip malls and the like continue to be built, and built, and built. And it’s not like much of this stuff is needed. As I drive from home to the gym, or to work, or wherever, for that matter, I pass building after building that sits empty, just waiting for some sucker to come and try and start a store there. Some of these empty strip malls have sat as such for upwards of twenty years now – and have never been occupied. And yet they continue to build more. I don’t understand it, quite frankly.

But Hirschhorn does. If you are interested in learning “the truth about urban sprawl, land use, suburbia, automobile addiction, active living, the sprawl lobby” and the like, then have a look at this site – or better yet, buy the book, which is available on

The world needs to wake up to this problem, and do so now, before it’s too late. If you’ll excuse me, I feel compelled to quote Joni Mitchell from her song, Big Yellow Taxi:

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a big hotel, boutique and a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem as though
You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

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