Is suburbia worth defending?

I read Robert Bruegmann's book "Sprawl: a compact history" awhile ago, but I just found James Howard Kunstler's review. Here are some great points about the fantasy of suburbia from Kunstler's piece: Despite his boatloads of statistics, Bruegmann is just flat-out wrong in many of his positions and virtually all of his conclusions. At the center of his thesis is the unquestioned assumption that the suburban project can continue indefinitely, that it is a good thing, that we will get more of it, and we ought to stop carping and enjoy it. His book fails entirely to acknowledge the fact that we are entering a permanent global energy crisis that will put an end to the drive-in utopia whether people like it or not. This singular harsh fact obviates all the rationalizations brought to the quixotic defense of suburbia. What Bruegmann and his homies overlook is that American-style suburbia, aka sprawl, was an emergent, self-organizing system made possible only by lavish and exorbitant supplies of cheap fossil fuels, and once those conditions no longer obtain, not only will there be no further elaboration of this development pattern, but all the existing stuff built according to that pattern – which comprises more than eighty percent of everything ever built in America – will drastically lose its usefulness and its relative “market” value.

and ...

We are not going to run Wal-Mart, Walt Disney World, and the interstate highway system on hydrogen, coal synfuels, tar sand or oil shale distillates, bio-diesel, ethanol, recycled french-fry oil, solar electricity, wind power, or nuclear fission. The stark truth of the situation is that we are simply going to have to make other arrangements – and I’m sorry to have to repeat that this will be the case whether we like it or not. Suburbia will be coming off the menu. We will no longer be able to resort to the stupid argument that it is okay because we chose it.

and ...

Another very troubling aspect of Bruegmann's book is that his statistical salvos fail to address altogether the many questions of quality and character in our everyday environments. The sad truth is that most of America has come to be composed of places that are not worth caring about, and they may eventually (if not already) add up to a nation not worth defending, or a culture not worth carrying on. You can cite the population figures and density trend lines all day long and never come to the conclusion that Hackensack, New Jersey, has become a soul-sapping sinkhole of auto-centric crap with strikingly poor prospects for maintaining its value or utility in the not-too-distant future.

and my favourite line ...

It is self-evident that human beings enjoy living in settings of domesticated nature – and no accident that the archetype for this is the Garden of Eden – but note that there is no mention of parking lots in the standard accounts of it.

Check out the entire review at http://www.kunstler.com/Mags_Bruegmann.html.