Stretched to the Limits: The Unexpected Costs of Sprawl (Weekend Watch)

As part of their Blueprint America series PBS visited Queen Creek (a suburb of Phoenix) to profile a family living through the recession in a new suburb:

As they post-mortem the housing crisis, policy makers are increasingly putting transportation costs under the microscope. Blueprint America visits the car-dependent suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona to learn about how transportation costs are making it harder for families to hold on to the American Dream.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

From the transcript:

“First stop: 25 minutes to Mesa, to unload the boys at grandma’s house

20 minutes later, they reach Scottsdale, where Laura lets Tony off in time for his six AM shift as a security guard in a hospital.

“It’s another 15 minutes to Tempe, where Laura works in administration at Arizona State University . After a full day’s work, they’ll do the whole thing in reverse in the afternoon…round trip that’s about 120 miles a day . . .”

“. . .it’s at least about two and a half, two hours. Depending on traffic and stuff.”

HT to Kaid Benfield

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Yuri Artibise

Yuri Artibise is an experienced policy analyst, community engagement practitioner and social media specialist. I have a Master of Public Administration degree with over 10 years of public policy research, analysis, and advocacy experience.

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  • WaynesWhirled

    Did they mention how big their house in Queen Creek was? Most people I know of who moved to the far ‘burbs (like Queen Creek and Maricopa) was because they wanted a giant house that they didn’t need.

    • They don’t mention the size, but they do mention that although “it is really far out… it’s big enough for us.” The also wanted their kids to have a ‘mid-west experience,’ “where it was open and everyone had grass.” Based on these comments, size definitely appears to be a factor in the purchase

      • It seems that many recent arrivals to the Phoenix Metro Area move to outer suburbs seeking something that replicates their Midwestern or East Coast roots. The irony is that a typical home in Central Phoenix or Arcadia has a far more Midwestern feel in terms of landscaping, lot-to-house size ratio, and shade than a typical exurban home on the fringe. I wonder how many translants simply don’t realize this because they assume that Phoenix proper is wall-to-wall skyscrapers (or wall-to-wall ghetto), or if it’s an issue of affordability. I suspect it’s a mixture of both.

  • WaynesWhirled

    Did they mention how big their house in Queen Creek was? Most people I know of who moved to the far ‘burbs (like Queen Creek and Maricopa) was because they wanted a giant house that they didn’t need.

    • They don’t mention the size, but they do mention that although “it is really far out… it’s big enough for us.” The also wanted their kids to have a ‘mid-west experience,’ “where it was open and everyone had grass.” Based on these comments, size definitely appears to be a factor in the purchase

      • It seems that many recent arrivals to the Phoenix Metro Area move to outer suburbs seeking something that replicates their Midwestern or East Coast roots. The irony is that a typical home in Central Phoenix or Arcadia has a far more Midwestern feel in terms of landscaping, lot-to-house size ratio, and shade than a typical exurban home on the fringe. I wonder how many translants simply don’t realize this because they assume that Phoenix proper is wall-to-wall skyscrapers (or wall-to-wall ghetto), or if it’s an issue of affordability. I suspect it’s a mixture of both.

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  • Jacob

    Just an insane way of life, one that’s perpetuated by shortsighted laissez-faire ideologues like Dennis Webb.

  • Jacob

    Just an insane way of life, one that’s perpetuated by shortsighted laissez-faire ideologues like Dennis Webb.