Friday, October 28, 2005

There's Places at the Table for Everyone

Just read a great little "assessment" of sprawl vs. urbanism. Alan Ehrenhalt in his column "Assessments" in the October issue of Governing magazine writes about this topic as he assesses Robert Bruegmann's new book Sprawl.

Ehrenhalt writes, "What we can do...is work to ensure that real choices exist for those who wnt to fashion a new form of urban life in the new century. That means public support for central-city residential living, investment in modern public transportation, and sensible zoning that allows experiments and supports developers willing to take risks. ... (W)e don't need to expend as much energy as we currently expend denouncing sprawl and wishing it didn't exist. In (Bruegmann's) words, 'there is room for both Houston and Portland in a country as large as the United States.'"

Give it a read, it really is a rational view to accomodating all styles of living.

2 Comments:

At 4:22 PM, Blogger google_PEAK_OIL said...

"We should take note that our major oil companies, including Chevron and ExxonMobil, are beginning to state publicly that we may be reaching peak oil." -- Senator Orrin Hatch

The living options in the future are going to be judged (very harshly) in terms of the BTUs, kilowatt hours, and gallons of gasoline that are consumed to create, maintain, and occupy them. We are now merely at the foothills of the new energy cost reality. We have a long climb directly ahead of us, and the more energy an individual's lifestyle requires, the more it's going to hurt.

Sure, there are lots of nice things about living in the large open spaces of Suburbia. But your article completely neglects to mention the relative resource and energy costs of the different options. This may have been an inconsequential matter in the last several decades of apparent abundance, but it will grow into a matter of overwhelming importance soon. Every planner needs to elevate energy considerations to the top of their planning process.

I consider it my responsibility as a citizen to do whatever I can to plant an awareness of this issue into the conciousness of Utah's planners and policymakers. We will have to live in the future Utah that you are building for us. If the lifestyle options you give us require too much energy, we won't be able to afford them.

When you devise your new communities and homes, think of yourself living in them in a time when using a car every day, and heating or cooling a large home has become so costly as to be beyond the means of the average person.

 
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