By Dom Nozzi
May 15, 2008
My cousin, Tony Fanucci, told me that he was shocked by the explosive growth of Cairo, Egypt.
I responded by pointing out that it is likely that Cairo will follow the tragic path that the US pioneered and is now ruinously being followed by many newly developed parts of the world — most conspicuously, China and India.
These cities are foolishly using the US as a model for development, which means they have an awful future they are creating for themselves. They are building grotesquely wide, high-speed highways and overpasses and endless expanses of asphalt parking lots in a hopeless effort to avoid traffic and parking congestion.
Their future will be that of the US: they will bankrupt themselves trying to make motorists happy (because monster highways and widenings and interchanges and parking lots are hideously expensive).
In the end, such unaffordably expensive efforts will lead to choking traffic, high levels of car dependence and sprawl (where it is impossible to travel except by car), sky-high taxes, awful air pollution, affordability problems (because it is WAY more expensive for a family to have to own 3 cars than to use transit or ride bikes), and an unsustainable future (due to such things as a loss of farmland and the fact that extreme car dependence has no future).
The lesson of the ruinous, car-happy path that the US embarked on will not have been learned until it has destroyed many of the cities throughout the world.