### onenesspublishing.com March 20, 2013
Urban sprawl isn’t to blame: unsustainable cities are the product of growth fetish
By Brendan Gleeson
In a recent article on The Conversation Robert Nelson argues we are all morally culpable for unsustainable urban sprawl. He goes on to suggest we fix this by taking advantage of opportunities for higher density development in sparsely populated inner suburbs. But his argument is based on a false opposition: mounting evidence shows that high density development in inner areas performs very poorly in terms of resource consumption and greenhouse emissions. The idea that outer suburbs are inherently less sustainable than inner ones doesn’t bear scrutiny. The key question is not where we accommodate growth; it’s our slavish pursuit of growth itself.
● Brendan Gleeson is Professor in Urban Policy Studies at University of Melbourne.
The Conversation hosts in-depth analysis, research, news and ideas from leading academics and researchers.
Read two articles by Robert Nelson at The Conversation:
The grass isn’t greener in the outer ‘burbs (7 March 2013, 6.43am AEST)
“For a long a time real estate close to the palace was socially desirable, and anyone with aspirations didn’t want to know about the rest. Today in Melbourne inner-city people are embarrassed to reveal knowledge of the outer suburbs such as South Morang, like 17th century Parisians who would mispronounce the street-names of poorer areas or affect not to know them at all. Throughout history, the distribution of wealth has had a geographical expression. Snobbery, however, is only part of the challenge of urban geography. Power and privilege are concentrated within 10kms of the city centre.”
The devaluing dream; why Australian suburbia is an economic disaster (11 January 2012, 6.22am AEST)
“In spite of what everyone believes through natural pride and vanity, the family house is an asset that depreciates. Don’t be deceived that the value of property goes up and up, which of course it does. The rising prices are caused by the land becoming more expensive, not the house itself.”
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Image: shutterstock.com – urban expansion