The iconic white picket fence [of suburbia] comes with a hefty price tag in the form of the cost of the gasoline needed to drive to work and to the supermarket, and the suburban idyll is under review.
Tracy McKelvey and his wife Jan lived in a ... suburb and used to commute two hours each day to their jobs in Phoenix. But, a few years ago, they traded in their three-bedroom, two-garage house in the Phoenix valley for a downtown loft.
Both McKelveys now travel to work by scooter and enjoy restaurants, cafes, sports arenas and shops within walking distance of home, taking advantage of the $2.3 billion that the country's fifth-largest city is spending to build housing, a university campus and a mass transit rail system.
"We save money on gas. It's a good feeling. I haven't sat in a traffic jam for years," Tracy McKelvey said.
"These are not the cyclical changes that recessions cause every few years. These are game-changing structural changes," [University of Michigan real estate development professor Christopher] Leinberger said. "The market is demanding walkable urban product."