in the west we are used to and loath to give up these comforts. personal cars, large suburban homes.. look at places that have modernized more recently, like in east Asia. Density, verticality, public transportation, these are the name of the game. Of course they would prefer to have their own cars and large homes, but the reality is that it's too inefficient for society to support.
Wasteful? That's in the eye of the beholder. It all depends on what you value. Some people value things differently than you.
Worse for society? Is it better to have to have millions of people burn substantially more time of their lives to live in cities due to the added expense? Is that really better for the poor?
Density is not a virtue. Misery of crowded, smelly, noisy and expensive, cities is not a virtue to inflict. Some people prefer cities. Good for them. Many do not.
Too inefficient? For whom? Funny, it works really well for many millions.
If you're pro-misery, claim it and own it. I just find it ironic that people from smoggy smelly cities are judging people from the comparatively, beautiful, clean, and low crime suburbs.
Try exiting your bubble.