Suburbia sucks for a lot of reasons: Public transit usually isn’t as timely or extensive; commuting takes longer; amenities like fresh food aren’t as accessible. (This guy even says they’re worse for our health.)
Now two maps from Sightline Institute illustrate what you probably knew all along: It’s just plain harder to get places. (Or as former Grist writer Sarah Goodyear put it, “A mile in an American suburb is a lot longer than a mile in Rome.”) Sightline compares Seattle with one of its suburbs, Bellevue, to show that walking or biking a mile in the latter doesn’t get you as far as the former:
The point of sharing these maps isn’t — believe it or not — to give city-dwellers one more reason to gloat over those living in the suburbs. (It’s more complicated than just hip urbanites vs. rich squares; gentrification means poor people are increasingly pushed out to suburbia.) The point is that it’s important to plan our cities, towns, and villages with efficient transportation in mind, so it’s not so hard to get where we’re going — no matter how pretty and Norman Rockwell-esque those curly cul-de-sacs may seem.
Why the suburbs are depressing and awful, in two maps, Washington Post.