Sustainable Housing in the Sprawl

The US is not alone in facing an affordable housing crisis. Add to that the need for sustainability and it spells disaster. Yet tackling these issues seems more possible than many others we face.

Episode 11


Worldwide, countries struggle to provide affordable housing, not to mention expanding the market in a way that doesn’t undermine climate change goals. Global North cities in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia have relied on urban sprawl to appease the demand for more—and bigger—houses. Plagued by the poor air quality, forest fires, and water shortages that coincide with urban sprawl, this approach is not sustainable. The Global South lacks the necessary economic dependability to provide sufficient housing in overcrowded cities. But Michael and Kimberly consider the steps governments are taking and technological developments providing businesses and consumers with more sustainable options.

Key Topics

  • How big is big enough for two people

  • The chasm between housing demand and supply

  • How double-sized homes mean double-length commutes

  • The A-to-Z list of how urban sprawl contributes to climate change

  • Strategies that offer affordable—and maybe even more sustainable—housing

  • Why this sustainability issue seems more manageable than most others

  • More information in Kimberly's Substack post

Recommended Resources

People figured out a long time ago how to build sustainably. In countries along the Mediterranean, stone buildings with high ceilings and big, shuttered windows are a common sight, offering a respite from the oppressive heat.