Suburbs, Capitalism, & Governance

There has been some discussion recently—such as this editorial in the Sacramento Bee—around decisions by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approving suburban developments, mentioning specifically the Cordova Hills project.

In our opinion, the Supervisors have acted responsibly approving well-planned suburban developments such as Cordova Hills, because in a capitalistic society part of government’s role is to work with—providing some public funding and governmental oversight insuring quality and other benchmarks are met—capitalistic enterprises, like the development community.

The development community, as a capitalistic enterprise, has to develop housing which the buyer wants to spend money on and for several generations now, that has been suburban housing.

Sure, a lot of people prefer living in the city—as I did when younger and single—and there will always be developers who will design and build for that segment of the market; but for the overwhelming majority of potential home buyers, the suburbs are where they want to buy.

The essence of capitalism is giving the customer what they want and though our country has many socialistic elements—such as social security—which are deeply loved, we are still essentially capitalistic.

That is part of our strength as a country, encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and in the process, attracting the best, the brightest, and the hardest workers from throughout the world to our shores and valleys.

The suburban choice is also reflected in a story from the Wall Street Journal reporting on figures from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey revealing that an increasing number of commuters are preferring to travel alone in their own cars even after all the discussion and exhortations from environmentalists to use any form of transportation other than driving alone.

The Survey reports that Americans are much happier driving alone, and the rates for mass transit use, bicycling, carpooling, etc. are either dropping or standing still, and in 2012 about 76% of workers 16 years and older commuted alone in their own cars, which was just a bit lower than the all-time high in 2005 of  77%.

In our region, which is overwhelmingly suburban—especially bordering our most treasured natural asset, the American River Parkway—the decisions by local leadership to encourage the building of housing communities that are most desired by home buyers, are smart and will contribute to regional growth and prosperity; while keeping the environmental impacts in line with the continued health and well-being of residents.

Another version of this story was published by Sacramento Press on November 8, 2013.

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
This entry was posted in demographics, Environmentalism, Transportation. Bookmark the permalink.