Google Maps Street View allows you to cover much more ground than you ever could if you had to physically go to every place you look at. Google Maps is a fantastic tool because it has a 3D model of the entire Earth with all the buildings in it. You can zoom in until you reach the street level or you can zoom out and see entire continents at a time.
I've been roaming the cities and streets of Canada, mainly in the provinces of Alberta, Sasquatchewan and Manitoba yesterday and today. I've also been to towns and cities in Finland and in Sweden. I've also done a couple of smaller detours in the northern parts of the US.
In the US and Canada, suburbs tend two sprawl very far and wide. The cities have been planned in a very car-centric manner whereas in the two Nordic countries, there are a lots of bike paths. In North America, the grid design is very obvious when seen from above, particularly when it comes to the cities in the prairies where the terrain is completely flat.
Here's how it looks like in the northeastern district of Ahtiala of Lahti where we used to live in a couple of years ago. Just follow the road to the north.
In this country, it's perfectly normal to allow kids in first grade to walk to school. In second grade, they were allowed to ride a bicycle to school. I think this is standard practice in continental northern Europe, including all the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, Germany and Russia as well. In fact, the school administration of my daughter's school sent a message to the parents once asking them not to drive to the school to pick up their kids because of the danger involved in having dozens of cars in the parking lot at once. This is the local middle school in the northeastern region. The stretch of the major street extending one kilometer to the south and to the north from the school has nine pedestrian underpasses. That sort of thing more than usual in Finland as well considering how sparsely built the whole area is.
It seems to me that the booming cities with lots of newbuilds in Canada tend to be in the coastal metropolis of Vancouver - or the largest urban area, Toronto. House prices have been falling in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg. You can see that from visiting these cities virtually, which makes sense. Less demand for new housing -> less gets built.
I read somewhere that the average house price in Toronto Metropolitan Area is over $800,000 (I'm assuming that's in CAD, which is about 0.69 EUR or 0.76 USD). My relatives in Vancouver tell me that the average price of a home is very high also where they live. A second cousin of mine told me that Montreal where she lived for a few years was much cheaper to live in than Vancouver.
It seems to be a global trend that the largest and the best connected cities boom and that the hinterlands decline.