Suburban real estate wreaks havoc on resources

Part 1: Sustainability concerns escalate

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(This is Part 1 of a two-part series. See Part 2.) Ask most home builders these days what they sell, and they'll say a lifestyle. In most cases, this means a house on the outer fringes of suburbia with a yard for the kids and a garden for the folks. The house has plenty of room to pursue hobbies, entertain friends, bond with the family and get away from it all in a spacious master suite. But is this lifestyle a sustainable one for the long haul? That is, in meeting our own needs in this fashion, are we compromising the needs of future generations? The needs of our children and our children's children? In a word, yes. If we continue to build more than a million such houses every year, the long-term effects will not be good, so say architects, builders, environmentalists, ecologists, engineers and developers in recent interviews. Dan Chiras, an Evergreen, Colo., environmentalist, teacher and home builder, was quite specific. "We cannot keeping spreading out across the country, gobblin...