| || These winding streets of identical houses do nothing to break up the monotony of the asphalt. The outskirts of Denver are a good example of the runaway sprawl of suburbs in North America. This phenomenon was triggered by postwar economic growth, which encouraged private home ownership and stimulated investment in roads. Since then, the number of people living in such areas has relentlessly grown—by 12 percent between 1990 and 1998—at the expense of the growth of city centers, at a rate of 4.7 percent over the same period. These networks of low-density suburbs make their residents totally dependent on their cars, one of the chief sources of greenhouse gases. This dependence is one reason that Americans generate the highest emissions of greenhouse gases on the planet. Although North Americans are only 5 percent of the world’s population, in 1998, they produced almost a quarter of human-generated carbon dioxide.
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