There are a lot of pro-public transportation liberals who think that we would all be better off if we lived in dense urban environments where we could take public transportation and not have to waste resources driving around in our own individual cars.
Does this make sense from an economics viewpoint? Based on how expensive it is to live in New York City, the answer is a big loud NO.
New York City is the most expensive place I've ever lived. Northern Virginia was the second most expensive place I lived. The car oriented Phoenix area was a lot less expensive. It seems that the more densely you pack people together, the more economically inefficient the area becomes. This is the complete opposite of the conventional liberal wisdom.
I have two theories for why densely populated areas are more expensive.
Dense populations create transportational and space inefficiencies.
Public transportation is a lot less efficient than getting into your own personal vehicle. And all vehicles get stuck in big traffic jams. It becomes a lot more expensive to make commercial deliveries, which gets reflected in higher prices for everything.
Space inefficiencies should be obvious. It's easier to work in a roomier environment. When everything is all squeezed together, a lot of labor goes into organizing stuff so it can fit into the limited space. There isn't even any room in New York City to store the garbage.
In New York City, there's
no room for the garbage
Densely populated areas attract liberals, who elect liberal politicians who then pass into law economically inefficient liberal politices. Like rent control, wasteful government spending which necessitates high taxes, and all sorts of burdensome regulations which increase the cost of doing business.
I also think that unions might contribute to the expensiveness of New York City. A lot more labor is unionized here than it was in Phoenix. The more conservative politicians in Arizona did everything possible to discourage unionization.