suburbia creates isolating places

ATTRIBUTE #7 - The suburbs create relatively empty, socially isolating places, which usually require travel to meet people.

Peace and quiet is important, but so is the ability to connect with neighbours, friends and family.  
Suburbs are poor at creating socially connected places - many people who live in suburbia live relatively isolated lives. 

We already know that suburbia creates less walkable places (and getting the density right creates more walkable places), but a new study has shown that people are happier in more walkable suburbs.

happiness and suburbia

While the health and physical benefits of more walkable neighbourhoods may be quick to intuitively grasp, a new study has shown that people who live in walkable communities are happier, more socially engaged and more trusting that those who live in less walkable areas. This study has some profound implications for our cities.

social networks and suburbia

Active people demand less of their environment than car travellers and make their neighbourhoods more liveable. Active travel can also be good fun. Walking, cycling and public transport provide opportunities for social connection and inclusion with neighbours, friends and other community members. Neighbourhoods are safer when more people are on footpaths, streets and in parks.

More active people are happier, healthier population from the day they start moving. They see doctors less often. They need less medication. They demand less of the healthcare system. They use cars less often, have less congested roads and benefit from less greenhouse emissions and air pollutants. Such people are also more likely to be both employable, reaping benefits for business, and employed, reaping tax benefits for government (i.e. all of us). The ageing of the population will be less of an issue if the ageing population is active.

Source : "Why Active Living - A health, Economic, Environmental and Social Solution" Premiers Council for Active Living, NSW 2010

Previous debates have largely focussed on the presumed financial, technical and environmental impacts of density. They do not tend to acknowledge the social issues, impacts and influences. These include the different values, political outlooks and priorities. The social play of debate around density is underlined by a historical record that reveals the tendency of policy consensus to shift between strongly contradictory, polarised views.

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