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{Empty title} | The Nation

Mr. Lam writes "I suspect that in another generation or two, middle-class homes in American cities will look like those of Tokyo today--which is to say, the size of a train compartment."

A train compartment? Get real. There are plenty of statistical sources available on the internet to show that Japanese homes are comparable to those in Europe.

Moreover, I live in Tokyo, in a modest (40 sq. metre), self-owned apartment that is ample for my needs (I'm single) and only ten minutes' walk from where I work. My place cost me only about 1.3 times my annual salary. Public services are good, I don't have to worry about crime, my neighbours are all quiet and friendly, and I can go anywhere in town via the world's largest and most reliable subway system. Tokyo hardly offers a model of urban amenities when it comes to design and green space, but improvements are being made on those fronts as well.

At the very least, next time Mr Lam pens a hortatory piece perhaps he ought to do a little more research on the horror stories he uses.