Living in suburbs increases debt levels


Once again, Statistics Canada reported: “Canadian debt levels set records.”

One of the most overlooked aspects of why we have so much debt is our desire to have the suburban lifestyle with two or more cars. Governments are still encouraging housing and transportation that will prevent income security and wealth accumulation. Most governments have no formal policy directives and incentives to promote higher-density and lower-cost (both capital and household operating costs) living.

The countries of Europe, with higher-density living and lower housing and transportation costs, allow for greater upward income mobility.

Political parties on the right and left have failed miserably in addressing this major impediment to upward income and wealth mobility.

With urban sprawl, we have created a situation where we need to drive to conduct our daily activities. A recent StatsCan report indicated that, in Canada, we spend 18 per cent of our disposable income just on transportation and a further 30 per cent on housing that usually exceeds our size needs.

What if we lived in more compact communities with higher density, had more affordable transportation, and lived in domiciles that match the size of our families and needs?

This is the norm in Europe and Asia, where they spend much less on moving goods, services and people.

We can improve our economic and physical health by creating more compact, walkable communities. The choice is ours.

Avi Ickovich


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