red and white train beside building

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– It has become common today to dismiss…
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My Revisions:

It has become common today to dismiss usage of public transit as detrimental to the flow of traffic and the effectiveness of moving from point A to B. However, multiple scholars point to the issue of long transit times to other means, primarily that of urban and suburban sprawl, funding of temporary solutions in terms of infrastructure, and neglecting a centralized public transportation system which can expedite the transportation process. The creation of suburbs has risen into popularity throughout the past century, and we are now seeing the ugly side effects as a result of the continuous building of suburbs. In the article “Why Are America’s Suburbs Failing?”, Masters shows a negative feedback loop that occurs with the repetitive process of always extending suburbs after identifying the reason their benefits, those being their affordability and quality in the moment, giving “the promise of a fresh start with thousands of cookie-cutter homes and state-of-the-art parks, recreations centres and above all schools — all at affordable prices.” However, this negative feedback loop occurs where building new infrastructure showed benefit while maintaining it was passed onto someone else. This leads to worsened conditions in older and more urban suburbs, increasing poverty and disarray. Due to the lack of support, opportunity becomes grim in these areas and things are harder to make better. In hopes of a place that brings better and safer services and commodities, everyone desires to move into the new suburbs, but as too many people move in, even newer suburbs must get created. This happens especially when racial groups come in. There are many people who feel that they are safer if they do not live near racial groups besides their predominant race. So, they fuel the demand to build new suburbs as racial groups move into existing suburbs. Nothing is done against this act of racial discrimination, and demand is always high for these new suburbs. And when they move away, the racial groups are left with the old suburbs crippling down into poverty. The creation of suburbs thus indirectly exacerbates racial discrimination. The increase of poverty at the inner-suburbs is so great that “a Los Angeles suburb that was home to a young George HW Bush in the 1940s… became an impoverished ghetto.

Hornick agrees with Masters on the aspect that creating new suburbs that offer spaces for technologically advanced yet affordable housing is in and of itself its greatest downfall as everything gets left behind in shambles. In fact, suburbs thrive so much that “The greater Detroit region… has continued to grow, with its population climbing from 3.3 million in 1950 to a high of 4.8 million in 2000, in spite of the hollowing out of its central city” (Hornick). This article continues to show how suburbs are indefatigable as long as there is availability of land that leads to low density development and funding and investment directed more to the suburbs. In short, there is no usage of stopping suburbs. However, is there a way so that unreasonable suburban sprawl can be mitigated and old suburbs remain maintained, safe, and diverse? Government regulation could make that happen by thickening or clumping up suburbs in accordance to local function and accessibility. It’s a solution that keeps the residential communities close with each other and intact while not shying away from the city with its urban benefits regarding economy, business, consumption, globalization, and societal intermingling. Suburbs can be clumped up through local services or communal/public projects, such as Stuyvesant Town, which has been “built on the towers-in-a-park model” and “has been a sought-after place to life since it opened in 1947.” Right now, this solution is being currently supported in the New York region, where “the city government and its suburban counterparts in New York State and Connecticut (along with several regional nonprofit organizations) have just received a $3.5 million Sustainable Communities Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to jump-start just such a process of reshaping regional development priorities toward growth along transportation lines” (Hornick). “If this can be shown to work in the long run, it may offer the promise of mutually supportive growth in both urban and suburban communities.”

“Clumpiness” is a benefit “which results from clustering density at locations that can support transportation hubs instead of increasing it everywhere” (Hornick). These transportation hubs are a great place where high-speed rail systems can thrive to its full benefit, as shown by Wei and Zhao’s article analyzing China’s high-speed rail. Their article tries to convince governments to “focus on the differences in the economic foundation and development characteristics of various regions, steadily push forward the construction and operation of the [High Speed Rail], and speed up the renovation of existing lines to help the green development of cities” (Wei and Zhao). The high speed rail gives a time-compression effect as a “fast, safe, convenient, and environmentally friendly passenger transportation tool” (Wei and Zhao). Not only do the high-speed rail systems improve the efficiency of the intercity transportation system, but they also have a “profound impact on economic growth and industrial development.” This is an incentive for businesses as well as the government to support these railway systems, as they will “reduce the waste of resources caused by the mismatch between supply and demand.” An interesting point this article talks about is how “HSR stations are newly built and mostly located in the suburbs.” This syncs up to Hornick’s article, which proposed the solution that suburbs must be thickened and enhanced so that both the benefits of the city and suburbs can shine the brightest. However, this article follows up by stating “Many literatures have confirmed that China’s HSR construction leads to urban land expansion.” Cities expand, which is what Masters and Hornick explain is the problem that fuels the continuous creation of suburbs. However, both governments and businesses are incentivized to maintain and fund urban environments due to the economical benefits they bring. Adopting high-speed rails will give the benefits due to accessible regional heterogeneity. It will greatly impact the economy from the increased globalization within a county as large as China or the United States with diverse economies. Wei and Zhao also go over the “diffusion effect,” whose drawbacks have been covered by Masters and Hornick, but a great benefit is that development spreads to less developed places like villages and rural areas, expanding the economy into untapped areas. This may be morally controversial, like how division of labor and taking advantage of cheap labor by offsetting lower development jobs to places with developmental disadvantages can occur, but the government must streamline and direct the process, as Hornick stressed. Cities like Shenzhen and Xiamen have experienced significant economic growth due to high speed rails being a major factor.

In conclusion, clumping suburbs up and connecting them through a high-speed rail system shows much benefit, not only with the lack of compromise regarding the suburbs that already exist, but making them work with cities to mutually benefit each other, as urban community gains massive economic development, suburban community gains benefits of the city as a hub for society, and all and everyone in between receive the benefit of a healthy environment with streamlined transportation.

Works Cited:

Hornick, Sandy. “The city and the state: American urban planning and the role of government.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 90, no. 4, July-Aug. 2011, p. 164. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Masters, Brooke. Why Are America’s Suburbs Failing? Financial Times, 1 Feb. 2024,

Wei, Lan-ye, and Zhao Liu. “Transportation Infrastructure and Eco-Environmental Quality: Evidence from China’s High-Speed Rail.” PLoS ONE, vol. 18, no. 8, Aug. 2023, pp. 1–21. EBSCOhost,

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