Monday, May 8, 2017

McMansions are killing the Los Angeles urban forest

Los Angeles has an estimated 10 million trees. They reduce excess CO2 in the air, act as wildlife habitat, improve water quality, reduce energy use, and increase surrounding property values.
But that number is far less than two decades ago.That's according to a new study from the University of California, which says the amount of tree cover in LA County has declined rapidly since 2000. Americans' growing preference for large single-family houses, along with the increase in driveways and swimming pools that come with home expansion, is the largest driver of tree cover loss in the US, according to the study. "These ecologically beneficial consequences occurred organically — not as the result of conscious environmental policy, but rather as an outgrowth of the cultural aesthetic and economics of the times," the researchers write. Today, nearly a decade after the 2008 housing bust, property development is as ambitious as ever. In Los Angeles, the average new home spans 2,687 square feet, and nearly one-third measuring over 3,000 square feet, according to the 2016 US Census Bureau annual survey.

la urban forest 

Full article here: (

Do you think the increase in "McMansions" has an impact on the greenhouse gases and climate change? Why are people creating these larger homes, rather than having homes that satisfy adequate living conditions?


  1. Deforestation in order to create McMansions (and many other things for that matter) is a key problem in the national CO2 emissions. I think that people live in these larger homes for the sake of living in larger homes. Also, I visited a sustainable house in one of my classes this year, and it has very complicated equipment as well as processes that need to be carried out to have the sustainable housing, so I'm guessing the ignorance of the process of having a sustainable house is a reason as well as a lack of care for sustainable future.

  2. you definitely have a good point there brad, the level of sophistication in this type of sustainable housing is enough to make some peoples heads spin. With as fast as technology is advancing there are many who don't want to transition to newer technology because they simply do not wish to understand it or are under the impression that they cannot learn how it works. I think that if we are to implement more of this housing there also needs to be education on how these things work that can be worked for all ages by making analogies to the new tech based on things they are more familiar with.

  3. I think the want for big houses comes from a materialistic culture that defines a high quality of life. People want to possess everything they can to be up to date with all the new trends. It is unfortunate, but it's also the form of capitalism that we are gravitated towards. Such a lifestyle makes us myopic, and we can't think beyond our own selves. A good example is when people say "climate change hasn't affected us." When in reality, it is affecting us as a society and is/will be the stem of many crises.

  4. I agree with Kriti, people are simply self-centered and choose to believe whatever suits their agenda.

    Right now, climate change does not suit most people's agenda: especially when they are building new houses or buying new cars. It is going to take a serious environmental crisis to change the general consensus on materialism.

  5. I agree. Climate regulation that was not previously on their radar, is certainly of great importance now. Legislation should be put in place in order to limit the amount of deforestation that happens in the process of building one house; perhaps even requiring the homeowners to keep a certain area of their property untouched to preserve some trees.

  6. Some of this goes along with a discussion we had in class yesterday. Top CEO's are paying themselves more than they ever had before. It doesn't surprise me that they are building bigger houses too.