But the phenomena of humans needing and preferring personal space and viewing density as inhospitable and a factor in lowered quality of life is becoming obvious. In places as far away as Brooklyn, NY, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond, people are demonstrating their need for a better way to live by either fleeing dense cities or fighting to preserve their quality of life in the suburbs (like I am trying to do with this blog).
Suburbs like Lake Oswego are precious environments where people want to live. This does not discount those who prefer high-rises and city life, but there are places for that too; In this area, that place is Portland. Metro should get used to that idea and leave the suburbs, the preferred place to live, alone. The exodus from the suburbs to less dense small towns is already occurring. Shouldn't we save the ones we have?
TAKING FLIGHT FROM ASIA by Joel Kotkin 10/21/2013
For the most part, these highly urbanized Asians are headed to places that may not be exactly pastoral, but are decidedly less-crowded places, either in the suburbs of great cities or, increasing, to sprawling low-density regions such as Houston, Dallas, Charlotte and Phoenix. In large swaths of Los Angeles County's San Gabriel Valley, parts of the southeastern Orange County as well as the Santa Clara Valley, six cities, including tony San Marino, already are majority Asian, and many, including several in Orange County, are either there or well on the way.
For the most part, these primarily suburban places, widely disdained by the dominant media and academic classes, appear to seem awfully nice to Asian immigrants. Nationwide over the past decade, the Asian population in suburbs grew by almost 2.8 million, or 53 percent, while their numbers expanded in core cities by 770,000, or 28 percent. In Southern California, the shift is even more pronounced: In Los Angeles and Orange counties – the nation's largest Asian region, the suburbs added roughly five times as many Asians as did the core city. There are now roughly three Asian suburbanites for every core city dweller in our region.
This is not just an American phenomenon. Asians, by far the fastest-growing large ethnic group in Canada, constitute a majority in many Toronto suburbs, like Markham, Brampton, Mississauga and Richmond Hill. The same pattern is seen in areas around Vancouver, such as Richmond, Greater Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey. Asians, who, following New Zealanders, constitute a majority of newcomers in Australia, also tend to settle in suburbs, particularly newer ones.
It's most important to understand the reasons these people leave their homelands. Historically, people immigrate from places where there is a perceived lack of opportunity. Yet, many of the Asian countries seeing people leave – places like Singapore, Taiwan and China – have enjoyed consistently higher economic growth rates than any of the destination countries. What these immigrants increasingly understand is that, as their country's GDP has surged, their quality of life has not and, in many ways, has deteriorated.
These are the sometimes subtle but important things that tend to be ignored by geopoliticians and urban ideologues, attracted by the density and transit-richness of the Asian cities. “Everyday life,” observed the great French historian Fernand Braudel, “consists of the little things one hardly notices in time and space.” And, by these measurements, life in the United States, Canada or Australia is simply better than that in most Asian countries.