Suburbs are places where people build houses to try and get away from other people and have larger yards. The result of this is that people are more spread out. Where before people could walk to work or the store, now they have to drive there.
This way of living is by far the most wasteful thing anyone could possibly devise. Not only does society destroy its pristine wilderness areas and farmland, but society itself is slowed in its progress because reduced contact with other people reduces the spread of ideas from one person to another. People thus have less to think about as they waste the non-renewable resources of the Carboniferous age by driving further than anyone should have to go to get someplace they have to be on a daily basis.
The less people have to think about, the worse civilzation will seem to its members. In cities, however, ideas still flow from one person to another with little effort. This is why culture genrally flows from city to suburb after a considerable period of time. The trouble is that as more people go to the suburbs and like them (I suspect they're the sort who don't like to admit mistakes), the balance of power in a democracy is weighted toward those who have no understanding of the importance of cities.
Specificly, suburbanites have little or no concept of the interdependence of all people. We are all connected to and dependent upon all other members of society for everything we have. This includes both culture and material possessions. None of us exists independently of others, and this is a fact that suburbanites would like to obscure from themselves by hiding their search for happiness behind a privacy fence. By taking money away from urban projects like public transportation, inner city schools, and social welfare in general, suburbanites may well lead to the downfall of civilization.
mblase: re Suburbs will eventually be the downfall of civilization: High-density city areas are the primary cause of higher crime and, ironically, fewer personal relationships. This is documented. How can this be a bad thing?
Me: Personally, I don't like being robbed, most people feel the same. That is why it's a bad thing. The cause of this crime tends to be economic inequality. I do not think that it's a bad thing that rich people are robbed by poor people if the government is so corrupt that the poor have no hope for getting what they need in any other way. My biggest point is that urban areas make society more connected. I think urbanites will have a greater appreciation of the idea of equality of oportunity and have more realistic ideas for achieving it.
As for fewer personal relationships, again, perhaps this is personal, but I kinda like to be able to tell people to fuck off. Although the number of people you may consider friends is lower in an urban area, those friends tend to be higher in shared interests than those in rural or suburban areas. Cities allow you to sort though vast quantities of people and keep contact with only the ones you want. The lower the population density, the less choice you have.