Friday, August 12, 2005

LA is Most Densely Packed Urban Area

A story in the Washington Post looks at what LA commuters already knew. We're packed tighter than a Wal-Mart checkout line on a back-to-school weekend:
The urbanized area in and around Los Angeles has become the most densely populated place in the continental United States, according to the Census Bureau. Its density is 25 percent higher than that of New York, twice that of Washington and four times that of Atlanta, as measured by residents per square mile of urban land.
LA residents already know about this. Families are doubling, tripling and quadrupling in houses. You notice these places when you tour an open house in which this is the case — the bedrooms have deadbolt locks on them. There are other signs as well. Drive any neighborhood that's not considered "wealthy" and you'll see the evidence on the curb — cars. Street parking tells the tale better than any US Census chart as far as I'm concerned. It's bumper to bumper and up on the lawn in some cases. One has to ask whether the infrastructure is capable of handling this. I'm not just talking about roads, but sewer systems as well. What happens when 12 people a day shower in what was planned to be a single family home with 4-point-whatever residents? Can the landfills handle all that extra garbage? Can the cops handle the domestic violence that occurs when people live on top of each other? And, bottom line for Wall Street, of course, is what all that's going to do to the housing industry.