The End of Suburbia

The End of Suburbia

Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream

DVD - 2004
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Through interviews with scientists and policy makers this documentary explores the premise that American suburbs, built on the easy availability of fossil fuels, may become untenable.
Publisher: Toronto : Electric Wallpaper Co., c2004
Branch Call Number: DVD 307.740973 END
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (78 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

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Nursebob
Jan 22, 2015

There is a coming energy crisis, according to Gregory Greene’s cortège of solemn talking heads, which will make the shortages of the 70’s look like a golden age and the Iraqi war a minor skirmish. Gone are the days where oil and natural gas gushed out of wells and into our bottomless gas tanks and water heaters. As the earth’s supply of crude is used up it will become increasingly difficult...read expensive...to coax the black gold out of the ground necessitating deeper wells that produce fewer barrels. This law of diminishing returns is bad news to an America whose addiction to cheap energy and, by association, cheap prices on everything from food to detached bungalows has been nurtured by years of corporate propaganda and social manipulation. As the supply of oil slides down the wrong side of the bell curve, people will be forced to downscale their energy-dependent lifestyles and work/shop/play closer to home while economies become increasingly localized. And nowhere will this pinch be felt more than in those sprawling concrete salutes to conformity, the suburbs. At one time the pastoral retreat of the wealthy wishing to escape the industrial reek of crowded cities, the advent of cheap automobiles quickly opened up these hinterlands to the hordes of rat racers eager to hit the new super-freeways in search of their own piece of the American dream. “The ‘suburbia project’...” laments one author, “...was the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world...a living arrangement with no future”. Indeed, with energy prices predicted to skyrocket there will be a domino effect which will render the suburban dream unsustainable before Generation X gets its first gray hair. So where’s the upside? According to Greene there isn’t one unless you commit to the idea of “New Urbanism” which is essentially a nostalgic return to the livable urban environments of yesteryear where parks, specialty stores, apartment buildings and transit routes could all be found within walking distance of each other. Furthermore, although research into alternate energy sources should have begun 50 years earlier one cannot discount the ability of human ingenuity to overcome the obstacles it created in the first place. The only question seems to be, will people leave their obsolete suburban “McHouses” willingly or be dragged out kicking and screaming? Bleak and unsettling, Greene’s glimpse into our future history makes you feel as if you’ve been kicked out of bed right in the middle of a pleasant dream. But is his cast of interviewees simply a pack of gloomy naysayers, or true prophets of doom? I guess time will tell. *Gulp*

g
ghreads
Feb 29, 2012

This film is used by the Transition Town movement as an awareness-raising tool. It describes the effects of our post-war suburban sprawl, especially the challenges created by Peak Oil.

It is an excellent introduction to the issues we will all have to deal with in the near future.

a
angie3d
Jan 17, 2010

it was interesting....

j
jalger
Aug 12, 2008

All of us suburbanites should watch this to understand what is seriously going to happen in our lifetime in our world.

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ghreads
Feb 29, 2012

"Suburbia is the greatest misallocation of wealth in human history.”

"America invested all its post-war wealth in a living arrangement with no future.”

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