Robert J. Samuelson ["Homes as Hummers," op-ed, July 13] boldly questions the conventional wisdom that "bigger is better" when buying homes, cars, appliances, etc.

America's new frontier continues to be committed to building taller buildings, gas-guzzling light trucks and oversize homes. In an era of limited energy resources (a barrel of oil has hit $60), urban congestion and endless rivers of traffic on major roads, we should be thinking more creatively about how to achieve our goals.

Lighter, no-nonsense vehicles that make do with less horsepower, homes that aren't the size of palaces, and buildings (both commercial and residential) that avoid excessive density are places to begin a much-needed adaptation to current realities. With the right approach, much can be done to avoid excessive energy consumption, wasteful traffic congestion, and excessive degrees of human density that deplete natural and human resources while contributing to increased costs, stress, and loss of precious human time and energy.




Driving along the Main Line outside Philadelphia, through downtown Hagerstown or beside the town common in Tarboro, N.C., reminds us that Hummer homes are not necessarily a new phenomenon. The real problem is that there is no equivalent construction of townhouses, rowhouses, bungalows and apartments that will shelter the rest of society. As affordable housing is demolished or renovated, people are excluded from those communities. Are they to wait in tents for a wave of Hummer foreclosures, in hopes that the Hummers were actually conversion vans in disguise?