The unalterable course of events in most American
cities. Unless the city
is landlocked or short on usable land, the natural flow of expansion is out, not up. In several Asian
cities, most notably Hong Kong
, lack of land has forced city developers to go up instead of out, resulting in pollution
that is many times worse than any American
Jungles of air conditioners turn summer into living hell, and despite the lack of cars, the air is chokingly dirty. Why? Tall apartment buildings cover the city like a canopy, preventing the circulation of air. Public transport in Asia has been all but privatized, resulting in superior services for lower costs, an integral part of a dense urban jungle. In Hong Kong, many utilities have been sold to the private sector, making it by far the most efficient concrete jungle in the world, and to a degree the most comfortable one as well. Private sector is always better than public sector.
Since America and Canada actually has the land to expand, they have to use it. Both countries have too many vehicles, and if development goes up instead of out, expect pollution to skyrocket, not to mention traffic deadlocks and riots. Lack of open space causes a lot of anger to build up in most people, I've noticed. Urban renewal, no matter how much of it is done on any city, can only stall the urban sprawl.
It's not a question of profit. It is a question of practicality. Urban sprawl sucks, and I hate Los Angeles, but to city developers, there is no other choice. Sprawling cities have little need for public transportation. In any case, better doughnut than Lego. Trust me, you would absolutely hate living in Hong Kong even if you're used to cities.
Actually, Saige, sprawl cities have much better services than stacked cities. And cheaper too, I might add. Chances are you don't find water and electricity plants inside the city, and underground wiring and piping gets very costly. Roads? They're cheap compared to the requirements for the maintanence of an urban city, being public transit. Sprawled cities don't need to spend a lot on public transportation. And no, Boston and Toronto are not sprawled. LA is sprawl.
Better car culture than wearing a gauze mask to work like I have to do right now in Shanghai.