Tracy Hills is a new master-planned community being built on the former dry grazing fields that slope down to the flat desert floor of the San Joaquin Valley, one hour east of San Francisco.
Freeway billboards indicate the future locations of the new villages. The grasslands have been graded and paved. Cheaply constructed houses made with weak beams, thin plywood and flimsy plastic siding sprawl the landscape. Rolls of artificial turf are piled up in the landscape, ready to be unfurled into new lawns.
Even in the midst of a climate crisis, rising housing costs are pushing families into far-flung “exurbs” like Tracy Hills, that are being built beyond the suburbs. The American dream of a single-family home means these developments continue to thrive despite state and local officials’ recognition that they only exacerbate the climate change problem.