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New Urbanism : Favors Pedestrians and Bikes, Not Cars

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It seems I hit a nerve and apologize for that. I have no knowledge of what you did in your former job. I had to re read my own post to see what I had said to get such a response, and on re-reading it did look like a personal attack, which it was not meant to be-not at you in particular at any rate.

Okay. That's noted.

I used to work very hard for my customers, and they returned the favor with repeat business,

so I don't like being characterised as a predator, when my approach was exactly the opposite.

 

I think to castigate all car users as people who don't 'get it' as rather short sighted however. Kunstler himself uses the header 'The Tragic Comedy of...' and I think that is about right. Cheap oil is responsible for a great many things we all take for granted. I think simply moving into an urban walkable neighborhood will not solve all of these problems...in fact those neighborhoods may have some trouble of their own. Kunstler often mentions the city as a place not to be.

 

You both have no children and thus are spared the hassle of decent surroundings and schools/education...a factor which keeps many out of urban neighborhoods...in fact one of the reasons which drove them out. I abhor the idea of ONLY thinking about areas near mass transit stations fit for apartment dwellers, yet see it's a good idea for developers to make another quick buck at the expense of those further afield.

 

I was reacting to the Car-Are-First mentality that we see in most American cities. In effect, car-owners are functioning like predators, grabbing all the subsidies they can to try to prop up their wasteful way of living. Europe achieves a better balance (and HK too!), but putting a high tax on gasoline. And petrol taxes may even subsidise Mass Transit, to some degree. That has helped to reduce the car dependency in most European cities. Result: If oil prices rise again, America will be harder hit than other, less car-dependent cities.

 

Most car owners are tired of the environmental arguments against car dependency, They are used to fighting them off with biased statistics and ridicule. But it is getting harder to shake off the pure economic arguments, so long as the Car Owners can get past their long-standing habit of denying anything that might threaten the habit of car usage.

 

The problem we face now in building better transport, is that the politicians and city planners are afraid the might lose the voting support of car owners. So they tend to see things from the point of view of the car-dependent - rather than those who use other types of transit.

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Walkability rankings of Large Metropolitan areas

 

A Brookings Institution survey ranks the 30 biggest metropolitan areas according to the number of "walkable urban places" relative to the area's population:

 

1. Washington

2. Boston

3. San Francisco

4. Denver

5. Portland, Ore.

 

6. Seattle

7. Chicago

8. Miami

9. Pittsburgh

10. New York

===

/20-more: Denver ranks fourth in "walkable places" - The Denver Post

========

 

But DON'T MISS these, either:

 

Perfectly Walkable Small Towns

 

October 28th, 2008 by Aleisha

 

Walkability isn’t an urban phenomenon, it’s an everywhere phenomenon. Walk Score advisor Dan Burden created a great list of walkable small towns. We decided to build on Dan’s list by finding 10 small towns with locations that have perfect 100 Walk Scores.

 

Aspen, CO | Key West, FL | Healdsburg, CA | Missoula, MT | Flagstaff, AZ

Brunswick, ME | Lawrence, KS | Juneau, AK | Middlebury, VT | Moscow, ID

 

This is just a start and we’re hoping to build a comprehensive list in the future—and to create walkability maps for small towns that are similar to the maps we made for the 40 largest U.S. cities.

===

/source: http://blog.walkscore.com/2008/10/perfectly-walkable-small-towns/

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SINCE I LEFT the USA,

Americans seem to have been dumbed down towards the level of an imbecile.

Is there something in the air or water there?

===================

 

Example: The moderators of C---D--- seem a touch moronic.

 

Here's a message I just posted:

"I really do not "get" why you want to close a Popular thread - which had 215 posts and 2,117 hits within a few days??

 

Of course there is a huge connection between the cost of driving and urban planning. Can anything be more obviously connected?

 

Maybe you should let it cool off for a few days and reopen it. Or comment yourself, and ask if others see the connection between the Cost of driving, where people live, and how a city is planned."

====

 

The posting was with reference to a thread called:

"The Real Cost of Owning a car per household? $8,000+ per annum"

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Have you, in your 8000 equation, considered that such savings 'paying off the mortgage' or 'saving a lumpsum' or 'paying the extra for more expensive accommodation' etc, can only be realized if you don't need travel to any place that requires coughing up for travel?

You also assume that one could earn ones income by being 'self employed' by not using a vehicle. You also limit yourself to a small radius, which may well be possible, but in your own case is not. Singapore, USA, East Europe, London, South Africa etc...I dare say your jet fuel + metro/subway/overland/underground/bus pass is a tad over 8000, no?

Maybe it is. I dont know. But wouldnt be the same for everyone's circumstances. We can't all be self employed traders.

 

I will presume that you would be infinitely bored to death in a walkable community in North Carolina or somewhere provincial-accustomed as you are to living in some of the greatest cities of the world. When you need a fix of New York or SF or London, HK or Capetown you'd be running down that saving 8000 dollars line rather quickly.

 

I'm all for a live and let live approach. I have no doubts that gasoline will become more expensive and we will see the demise of the suburbs, US style. I'm sure we will see less driving too. I think that has already started. But I also fear for walkable, urban environments. Just out of town supermarkets have murdered walkable communities. Tseco in the UK has destroyed the deli, the off license, the butcher etc etc. Towns and the retail which makes them are dying. We are held ransom to modernity. We are forced to make savings as 'every fucking little counts'. If you really explore those streets in walkable neighborhoods you will smell the decay. But you dont because it is all academic to you and the urban planners. Yes it SHOULD be like Busytown or Trumpton, but it ain't. As your own folk will tell you 'Main Street is dying and Wall street is winning'. Now how does one's 'self employed' status fit into to that paradigm? Are you adding any value to the community? Or just doing as you please? You want to play in Wall Street and live on the remains of Main Street?

 

Maybe a better idea of taxing the drivers (even more) would be to tax people without children? Or rather give generous tax benefits to those who have more children (those not on benefits).

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J.,

You make better points, ask better questions than I saw on C-D

Have you, in your 8000 equation, considered that such savings 'paying off the mortgage' or 'saving a lumpsum' or 'paying the extra for more expensive accommodation' etc, can only be realized if you don't need travel to any place that requires coughing up for travel?

 

You also assume that one could earn ones income by being 'self employed' by not using a vehicle. You also limit yourself to a small radius, which may well be possible, but in your own case is not. Singapore, USA, East Europe, London, South Africa etc...I dare say your jet fuel + metro/subway/overland/underground/bus pass is a tad over 8000, no?

Sure.

Carfree living isn't for everyone, but far too few try, IMO.

More are likely to be FORCED to live the carfree way in the future. Rather than doing it by planning, and by choice,

I reckon that many will be forced into that mode of living by a sudden oil price shock, and it will be quick and painful.

Many people are in denial about the risks that they are taking, because they do not like change.

 

You are thinking beyond the obvious here, to talk about the restriction, "the small radius" carfree people might get stuck in. But are you considering that, the better a city's transit network, the bigger the radius you can reach? I think this is precisely the reason that people who want to live carfree, will often choose a city with a decent public transit system, so they feel less cutoff.

 

There's a second best choice: which is to choose a city with a lesser developed transit system, and they pick very, very carefully where to live in only a few strategic points on the small network that exists, like within 5 minutes walk of a station where two transit lines cross - this will greatly increase your range of easily-reachable destinations, within your then-expanded "transit radius." Calculated your expected annual travel cost, and comparing your total costs, with and without a car, can then be an interesting exercise. Perhaps I shall run through an example later.

 

Maybe it is. I dont know. But wouldnt be the same for everyone's circumstances. We can't all be self employed traders.

I was determined to be carfree decades ago, well before I became self-employed. And I have been able to plow my savings into property for many, many years.

 

I will presume that you would be infinitely bored to death in a walkable community in North Carolina or somewhere provincial-accustomed as you are to living in some of the greatest cities of the world. When you need a fix of New York or SF or London, HK or Capetown you'd be running down that saving 8000 dollars line rather quickly.

There's something you are missing. I want to bet on the property cycle in the US. If I get it right, then I will wind up living for free. Appreciation in my property will more than cover my annual mortgage and living costs. I have lived that way for many years - for free - thanks to rising property prices in Hong Kong. Another part of my anticipated gain is that properties in walkable neighborhoods, where people can live carfree, are bound to appreciate FASTER than those in the suburbs. This has commonly happened in cities where I have lived, and is incredibly obvious to me. But no one has posted anything about it on CD.

 

The naysayers on the SC/NC threads who are criticising my idea are either ignoring this important fact, or are unaware of it.

 

Do I need to say that if this proves correct, then the cost of traveling to "increase my personal enjoyment" will not be a problem.

I'm all for a live and let live approach. I have no doubts that gasoline will become more expensive and we will see the demise of the suburbs, US style. I'm sure we will see less driving too. I think that has already started. But I also fear for walkable, urban environments. Just out of town supermarkets have murdered walkable communities. Tesco in the UK has destroyed the deli, the off license, the butcher etc etc. Towns and the retail which makes them are dying. We are held ransom to modernity. We are forced to make savings as 'every fucking little counts'. If you really explore those streets in walkable neighborhoods you will smell the decay. But you dont because it is all academic to you and the urban planners. Yes it SHOULD be like Busytown or Trumpton, but it ain't. As your own folk will tell you 'Main Street is dying and Wall street is winning'. Now how does one's 'self employed' status fit into to that paradigm? Are you adding any value to the community? Or just doing as you please? You want to play in Wall Street and live on the remains of Main Street?

Shopping isn't dying in these walkable communities, provided there is enough density to keep it alive. The trend you have mentioned is important, and walkability and density are effective REMEDIES against the loss of those parts of the community. Actually, I think rising oil prices will be the savior of "locality", since moving people and goods to thso mega-stores for shopping will become more expensive. My fear is that not enough food will get into the city at times, or what shows up at the walkable stores will become very limited and expensive. This risk deserves more discussion, if you want to "go there" and talk more about it.

 

Maybe a better idea of taxing the drivers (even more) would be to tax people without children? Or rather give generous tax benefits to those who have more children (those not on benefits).

Are you serious about this suggestion? I think you may just be "talking your own book." I am glad that you have children, are happy about that, and are able to support them as a good parent should. But we should not give any more incentive for having children IMHO, and maybe less. The ideal size of the population on Earth is probably small than it is now. Again, this could be a subject for further discussion.

 

Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, and I know that only a minority will aim to be carfree. But I think most of those who do move in that direction may be very glad they did - at least until some important economic an environmental factors change.

 

(BTW, I think there is a strong moral argument against being a car-owner-drive, but I have not made it, because I want to stick to the purely economic arguments.)

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Lots of interesting themes in your thoughtful response. Do you really think a bottom is in for US property? I would say a temporary bottom was in last year and you have missed that. Seems there is a lot of talk about a bottom. A lot of wishful thinking at the moment. Whether that is the end of property falls, I don't know. Same goes for he stock maket. Gold has been on the back foot and property/gold, dow/gold has been affected a little. So sentiment plays a pa in all of that. However the wishful thinking is based on what? Money printing. I dont see the economy really getting better yet. In fact I can see it getting a lot worse first, before it gets better. 'Temporary respite' would be where I pigeon hole it.

 

Of course walkable urban areas will hold up bettter than suburbs. That is and will be an ongoing theme. (I am no defender of the suburbs). Japan has seen this ongoing movement to the cities for employment and the countryside has died. Unfortunately the people, or many of them are amassed in the japanese suburbs-their sole grace being good transport links into the centers of employment and entertainment. The big cities are well too expensive for families/family style living arrangement (houses) for all those who have not inherited a family plot etc. Many have been bought out handsomely.

 

So you move to the US, buy a few BTL's in walkable urbanhoods, hope they appreciate in a property bull market? Is that how you live 'rent free'?

 

Shopping will die in all but the larger walkable neighborhoods, like HK or parts of London, NY, or wherever. I think the small walkable neighborhoods will have a few specialist gift shop type places, maybe a community deli and nice coffee shop and veg shop a local butcher who prides on selling local organic type fare and can guarantee support form the locals. In the UK this is getting harder and harder. But I note here in Japan there are quite a few start up bakeries. Many are switching off from the supermarkets as they understand more about where the food comes from/where it is processed. But rents are still too high for many to make a go of it. Who wants to become a butcher and take on the supermarkets? Not many. But maybe those skills will be useful in the future.

 

'' My fear is that not enough food will get into the city at times, or what shows up at the walkable stores will become very limited and expensive. This risk deserves more discussion, if you want to "go there" and talk more about it.''

 

This is key, IMHO. I'm interested to hear how you square that with the walkable/urban thing. As I see it the time for walkable/urban communities was from the 1970's on...when everyone was leaving for the suburbs. Now is not the time for that living arrangement as it could be dangerous. Coming back to the cities because there isn't enough cheap oil is a mistake to my mind. Safety in numbers? I don't think so. Better, like Kunstler, is be within reach of the market, yet still tend a few acres outside of the madding crowd.

 

I do like your idea about rising oil being the saviour of the locale but I think that will be after any collapse rather than before. The supermarkets will take it to the end, and without competition the consumers will be forced to eat it...just as they are now. I personally go out of my way to support small shopkeepers (and pay for the privilege) but it is worth it in humane/community terms.

 

Yes my 'tax the childless' was part tongue in cheek. World population could be smaller! However there is great unbalance. Japan, again, is at the forefront of that. Maybe that is good in the long run, a smaller population in a time of dwindling resources.

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BTW I just worked out I run my 2 cars on 6500 USD per year total which includes everything-gas-oil-tax-insurance-capital costs (old cars bought 2nd hand)-tyres-oil. That is low figure because I get a gas subsidy for some of my jobs.

 

On another front 2 cellphone/2 internet/other phone lines costs total 3000 USD per year.

 

I'd sure like to lose the cellphone out of my life. I am aware that my costs are far less than most families who have one phone/member. Horror stories of bills of 700 USD/month for those with large families all with cellphone.

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Do you really think a bottom is in for US property? I would say a temporary bottom was in last year and you have missed that. Seems there is a lot of talk about a bottom. A lot of wishful thinking at the moment. Whether that is the end of property falls, I don't know. Same goes for he stock maket. Gold has been on the back foot and property/gold, dow/gold has been affected a little. So sentiment plays a pa in all of that. However the wishful thinking is based on what? Money printing. I dont see the economy really getting better yet. In fact I can see it getting a lot worse first, before it gets better. 'Temporary respite' would be where I pigeon hole it.

 

I do think it is possible we have seen THE LOW in US property - in walkable transport-link communities, at least - and the winning strategy from here will be to "Buy the Dips." Did I miss it? (the Low)

 

Well, I did predict a Cycle low for US property in 2010-12, as far back as 2006 - and produced this chart in 2007:

18yrcyclelj9.gif

 

But I did not BUY right on the low - even though I saw it coming, because it was too far away (from HK.) But there will be dips coming along the way, and maybe even a big one this year, if stock markets wobble, as some forecasters expect for 2013.

 

Of course walkable urban areas will hold up bettter than suburbs. That is and will be an ongoing theme. (I am no defender of the suburbs). Japan has seen this ongoing movement to the cities for employment and the countryside has died. Unfortunately the people, or many of them are amassed in the japanese suburbs-their sole grace being good transport links into the centers of employment and entertainment. The big cities are well too expensive for families/family style living arrangement (houses) for all those who have not inherited a family plot etc. Many have been bought out handsomely.

 

So you move to the US, buy a few BTL's in walkable urbanhoods, hope they appreciate in a property bull market? Is that how you live 'rent free'?

 

That is a simplied explanation of the strategy, yes. Implementation will not be so easy as just explaining it. For instance, which part of which city does one buy in? How do you manage properties if you are not there? Questions like these arise.

 

Shopping will die in all but the larger walkable neighborhoods, like HK or parts of London, NY, or wherever. I think the small walkable neighborhoods will have a few specialist gift shop type places, maybe a community deli and nice coffee shop and veg shop a local butcher who prides on selling local organic type fare and can guarantee support form the locals. In the UK this is getting harder and harder. But I note here in Japan there are quite a few start up bakeries. Many are switching off from the supermarkets as they understand more about where the food comes from/where it is processed. But rents are still too high for many to make a go of it. Who wants to become a butcher and take on the supermarkets? Not many. But maybe those skills will be useful in the future.

 

Good. The main shopping areas may be only in the densest neighborhoods. Some car-owners may drive (expensively) to get there, and pay plenty for their parking privilege.

 

Yes, there could be something like that, plus maybe a farmers market, where they sell locally-grown produce.

 

'' My fear is that not enough food will get into the city at times, or what shows up at the walkable stores will become very limited and expensive. This risk deserves more discussion, if you want to "go there" and talk more about it.''

 

This is key, IMHO. I'm interested to hear how you square that with the walkable/urban thing. As I see it the time for walkable/urban communities was from the 1970's on...when everyone was leaving for the suburbs. Now is not the time for that living arrangement as it could be dangerous. Coming back to the cities because there isn't enough cheap oil is a mistake to my mind. Safety in numbers? I don't think so. Better, like Kunstler, is be within reach of the market, yet still tend a few acres outside of the madding crowd..

 

I have no magic answers, unfortunately. It will be a slow and pains-taking research project, I expect.

Right now, I am toying with the idea of having an investment in both areas : an Urban base, and an ongoing experiment someplace which - as JHK puts it - "has a meaningful relationship with agriculture." Where these places exist near cities, people typically commute back and forth by car, not be rail. So this hybrid idea is a true challenge. I think I will need to attend the CNU in 2013 to get some ideas.

 

I do like your idea about rising oil being the saviour of the locale but I think that will be after any collapse rather than before. The supermarkets will take it to the end, and without competition the consumers will be forced to eat it...just as they are now. I personally go out of my way to support small shopkeepers (and pay for the privilege) but it is worth it in humane/community terms.

 

Yes my 'tax the childless' was part tongue in cheek. World population could be smaller! However there is great unbalance. Japan, again, is at the forefront of that. Maybe that is good in the long run, a smaller population in a time of dwindling resources.

 

The problem with supporting-local-shopkeepers as an insurance policy is: They may not make it; they can go bust too. My partner and I supported a local restaurant here in HK - we were probably the best customers there. But without warning, he sold out over Chinese New year. We know he was struggling financially, and many decide to pay their debts before CNY, so that may be why he sold out. Still, we wish him well, and will find another restaurant to frequent and support.

 

I do think we need a smaller population on our planet, but like to see people willing to take on the responsibilities of parenthood, and like to see happy families, especially with both parents in place. I think the state provides too many incentives for single parent families in a crowded world.

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Did you miss the low in US property? I would say 'No', not the low. Property has much further to fall...but when? Not till we see the markets all crashing again.

 

How dense is 'dense'? I think only the larger metropolises are dense enough to keep their shops. Do any of these places you are considering have subways or good overland light rail with a large enough population to be supported by agriculture nearby? This is a problem, it seems to me.

 

Investment in both areas? Yes, very nice.

 

I think there is a strong argument to support local business-whether they make it or not is their (and everyone elses) business. Community support is important if there is to be a community...

 

Smaller population trendings are prevalent in many countries now. Just not enough to offset the rise in other countries...a bit like Japan's recent export/import figures. Smaller population countries are leading the way, if you ask me. Less mouths to feed, homes to heat etc... China is planning 50 Nuclear power stations. God help us!

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NukeplantsAsiaNikkei.JPG

 

 

Planned Nuclear Power Stations for Asia by 2020. Better give James Dines a call.

 

(I'd rather drive cars than have nuclear power like this) (but I see the problems with that statement) :)

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The Car-dependent rear-guard on C-D is doing its best to convince itself that it "holds the high ground":

 

 

...How much do you know about cars that run on both electricity & gas? Are you aware that areas are starting to provide plug-in parking areas for cars like the Chevy Volt? There are trucks manufactured in this area that run on natural gas.

 

The world is changing. I'm not sure that you're aware of a lot of those changes.

 

Do you really think the US is going to run its suburban living system on these experiments?

I think it is pretty certain the suburban-way-of-life is dying a slow death' date=' and life will change for commuters

===

/see: http://www.city-data...te-area-18.html

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Since I live 30 miles out from Charlotte & I see these vehicles on the road' date=' even in a terrible economy, I think that I'm in a better position to say yes these cars are being embraced than you are, in Hong Kong.[/quote']

 

I am sorry to tell you this, Southbound, but Charlotte is not the whole of America. And even in CLT, you may find those that disagree with you. And that is certainly the case if the Direct Messages (of support) that I am receiving every day are any indication.

 

Here's an excerpt from a DM that I received today:

"I started to respond to your posting, but I decided it would be better to message you directly. Sometimes, some of our more... opinionated posters... annoy me and I didn't want to hear it..."

 

So I know there are those in "silent agreement" who seem to be willing to sit back in quiet agreement, and let me take the heat on these threads. I do not mind. I have pretty thick skin, if you have not guessed by now. (Or you could say: "You have a thick skull," or "You are very self confident", depending on your point of view. All of these descriptions may apply, probably.)

 

One of the reasons for my self-confidence is that I think the US is approaching an important turning point on its attitude towards the suburbs. I left the US two decades ago because I rejected the American suburban living arrangement. I did not want to live that way, and I did not want to be surrounded by people who could not see the shortcomings in that way of living.

 

It is different now. Many people are talking about how they want to live in Walkable communities, where they know their neighbors, and their children are safe playing in the streets. This is just not possible in the outer ring suburbs, no matter how many gates surround a community. It requires a denser community, where there is a local focus to life. I am not the only one who hungers for something like that. "Local life" like that does not exist in many urban communities, it is something altogether different. In a proper urban environment, you have a rich variety of "street life."

 

I would like to see America get back to the non-suburban choices: Local small town life can be appealing, even if it requires using a car sometimes. And so is a carfree urban life. But the dead bastardized version you find in the suburbs is simply not attractive to a growing number of people.

 

I think I am right about this, because we are no seeing more and more videos like this one:

 

Sprawling from Grace, Driven to Madness:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPS1y81b1Bw

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My carfree plan is the opposite of what some American technologists have been tinkering with. I think that their inventive tinkering is not addressing the real problem : how American distribute themselves on the landscape. Here's an example of a failed "solution" from a thread in the Urban planning section:

 

Segway: A Dream to fight a Nightmare?

 

 

I remember there being a HUGE amount of buzz around the Segway prior to it's being announced. Lots of people hyperbolically speculating about how transformative the Segway would be - I think Steve Jobs said it would be would be as big a deal as the PC - other people commented on how it would change the way cities were built.

 

The problem with that speculation is it was all mired in a suburban view of the future - a vision that was already waning at the introduction of the Segway. That vision of growth by sprawl is no longer the predominant force - and denser urban cities are the most desired and coveted areas of be in. So the Segway was designed for a future that thankfully will not come to pass' date=' and is instead hopelessly mired in a dead-end vision of cities that was already being rejected and will be completely killed in the 21st century.[/quote']

 

I have lived outside the US for most of the last three decades, and I see this thing (the Segway) as a classic stupid America blunder.

 

America needs to change its wasteful Suburban living environment (the most collossal mal-investment in history) rather than looking for new ways of accommodating a frightful mistake.

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If car dependency is the problem' date=' why are we so car dependent? Because we are such a large country? And it's because of size that China is growing increasingly car dependent? The problem isn't car dependence. The problem is size. Large countries like Canada, Russia, the United States, Australia, China have a unique set of problems due to their size. To advocate that those countries should downsize is ridiculous, so people instead attack the symptoms of the problem, not the basic problem. The larger the country, the more complex the problems become, of transportation, communication, elections, and so on. Throw in geographical challenges, climate challenges, agricultural challenges, and again, dealing with the problems from a governmental standpoint becomes ever more complex. And yet, people find innovative and creative ways to deal with these problems all the time.[/quote']

 

America made the HUGE MISTAKE of tackling the problem of having a large country by building a highway network across it (rather than a fast rail network - as China is now doing.)

 

Video: Sprawling from Grace, Driven to Madness

 

For decades, while oil prices stayed down, this did not seem to be a mistake. Low gasoline prices disguised the economic vulnerability of so much car use. Currently, American use something like 27 barrels of oil per annum per capita, while European consume 9 barrels, and the Chinese maybe 3 barrels. We now have a situation where America has about 5% of the world's population, and consumes about 20-25% of the world's oil production. In a world of limited oil, this is clearly unsustainable, and a huge economic vulnerability for the country.

 

It amazes me to hear that some Americans seem to think they are "superior" to others, or for some reason are entitled to burn through the oil wealth of our planet at 5X the speed of the rest of our inhabitants. The US will not be allowed to do that forever. What will stop this country of oil waste, is rising prices.

 

That highway system and suburban living arrangement, that seem so attractive when oil was down, has become a trap - that the US must find its way out of, or it will find its wealth simply drained away to foreign oil producers - as has been happening for years.

 

And don't think that military force is the answer. The very expensive cost of maintaining foreign bases, and "projecting our military might" is a second cash drain that is allowing yet more American wealth to hemorrhage from the country.

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Well, I did eventually get a response (to my question about the US being 5% of the population, and using 20-25% of the oil) - and it came from another frustrated critic of car dependency:

 

No one address's it because no one cares. We will be dead and gone when it becomes someone elses issue.

Anti-car people are what witches were to puritans in 1690's. We should be excommunicated and burned at the stake for hating freedom and shunning the American way.

There are number of things that could be done' date=' right now, to curb the insatiable addiction, like rationing, charging 10.00 a gallon and putting a massive surtax on irresponsible vehicles, but the peasants would storm townhall with pitchforks and torches. [/quote']

 

Maybe you are right.

The exercise of Denial is so well-ingrained that even an obvious problem like this rarely gets addressed.

Or when it does get addressed, it is through half-measures (quarter-measures?) like a slow build-out of a small light rail system.

I fear that the US will go from $5 oil to $10 oil within something like 1-2 years after the next big price rsie starts. And then after a pause, gasoline prices will go from $10 to $20 in another brief episode.

If we are right, then it may take some big shocks like this to shake the car-dependent out of their long sleep.

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I respectfully disagree.

Look' date=' you make many good points in favor of mass transit, and I agree with some of what you have to say.

 

You're entitled to your opinion, but I don't understand why you favor ditching automobiles altogether. Surely there are other domestically produced fuels that could be used in lieu of gasoline.[/quote']

 

I am not sure why you think that?

 

My main idea (for the US): is to move towards "car-light" living, as you see in much of Europe. That means smaller cars, with greater fuel economy, and much more mass transit - commuting by trains and buses.

 

My main idea (for myself): is to seek a place where I can live carfree - BECAUSE the closer I can get to that ideal, the less I will feel the future oil shocks. But I don't think that everyone needs to carry it so far.

 

But like JHK and others, I don't think that new ways of powering cars is going to be any more than a very small part of the answer. The real answer is to CHANGE WHERE AND HOW PEOPLE LIVE, to live with a much reduced amount of car-and-oil-dependency.

 

The way I see it, it is almost impossible for a person who is wide awake to the-risks-I-see to live in America, so addicted in the US economy to cars. But I no longer accept that staying-away as the correct final verdict. US Property prices are now low enough, and the understanding of the oil price risk is growing, so NOW may be the right time to look for those pockets where people can live in a sensible Car-Light way. Or, I may be early... once again.

 

That's an interesting point. A good five or six years ago' date=' I do remember an argument being made in favor of limiting the price of the barrel to a certain point, lest consumers find themselves fed up with gasoline, and a serious desire for alternative fuels gets under way.

 

I'm surprised that people aren't more vocal (in a productive way), about the high cost of oil.[/quote']

We agree on that last part.

 

I suppose people just do not want to face the hard choices, if it means disrupting their habitual ways of living. My "purist" - an almost zen-like, single-minded discipline - will go far beyond what most people are willing to contemplate.

 

Zen_meditation_263150553_std.jpg

Zen in the Art of Carfree Living

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From the "darkness" of C-D, this emerges, a Debate between Charlotte and Atlanta,

about which city has more New Urbanism.

 

If thats what you think then it is SO obvious who feels they are unworthy.That came out of your month.Your feeling of inadequacy is very evident.

 

I have only questioned remarks made by some of you Charlotte posters about whats going on in Atlanta forsake of being factual as it pertains to this thread.Something that many of you have relished.I have shown as other why many of you remarks describing Atlanta as doing nothing or little to combat its sprawl. As if Charlotte is a trailblazer while Atlanta is just sitting still?smack.gif All this "Dear Heart" and oh "you're touchy" is just smoke and mirrors.

 

Atlanta has made PLENTY of mistakes. I know that.However it has been in correction mode for yeasr.I have not even heard of what Charlotte has been doing on a national level that is so speciall .I have about Atlanta though:

 

This article is fromm 1999 about the end of Sprawl in Atlanta

http://pics3.city-da.../createlink.gif

 

These were published in 2008:

1 / The End of Atlanta's Sprawl | Planetizen

2 / http://chrisleinberg...Meet_110508.pdf

 

3/ More Recently:

Welcome to the Sunbust – Next City

 

I have read on this thread about Atlanta:

"Has not grown sin decades".

"Stagnant for decades"

"How Charlotte voted for a tax on road and Atlanta could not get a vote on transit"

"Mecklenburg county has already surpassed Fulton in population density"

 

NONE of that is TRUE.How you gonna discuss something based on false data.Im sorry if my correcting false statements upsets you but it does not make Charlotte any better by stretching the truth.

 

Urbanism and smart growth examples in Atlanta:

 

Glenwood Park-Glenwood Park is a mixed-use neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta' date=' Georgia, United States, located just west of East Atlanta Village. The neighborhood is an example of New Urbanism, promoting a sense of community with walkable streets and closely spaced residential units that are mixed in with office, retail, and green space.[1'] Glenwood Park is on the BeltLine, a former rail line converted to a trail, with transit to be constructed in the future.

 

Glenwood-Park-Atlanta.jpg

77717254_81fe6823c0.jpg

dsc_0414-lg.jpg

The BeltLine/

Old Forth Ward Park

wol_error.gif This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 2917$sx2084$s and weights 1237$sKB.

9001.jpg

354011654_640.jpg

One of the few cities in the metro that have embraced Urbanism even 30 miles from Downtown Atlanta

Downtown Woodstock(redone)

 

Woodstock-Ga-downtown.jpg

woodstock-downtown.jpg

Serenbe Serenbe is a New Urban village, located in the semi-rural area within the city limits of Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, in Fulton County, Georgia, in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

 

ga-serenbe1.jpg

 

 

Quote: Serenbe has drawn national attention as an example of New Urbanism in the South.

With its organic farm and land-use plan that encourages conservation of agricultural land, Serenbe is at the same time an example of Development Supported Agriculture, a nascent movement in real estate development that preserves and invests in agricultural land use. The village is also noted as a destination for visitors seeking to experience its New Urbanist design, its natural setting and its farm-to-table restaurants, shopping and accommodations

The Farmhouse restaurant at Serenbe has become a showcase in the Southeast for the farm-to-table movement

 

Serenbe:

ULI Atlanta Chapter – 2008 Sustainability Award

Atlanta Regional Commission – 2008 Development of Excellence

USATODAY.com - Ga. landowners work to draw line on sprawl

 

SOMEBODY PLEASE SHOW ME WHERE CHARLOTTE HAS GARNERED NATIONAL ACCLAIM FOR NEW URBANISM PROJECTS

ANYWHERE IN ITS METRO FOR URBAN ISM?

My comment was:

 

That's pretty interesting.

It reminds me of London, where I lived for over 20 years.

Maybe if the studied London more, they could do even better, in creating a truly walkable environment.

For instance, are they building the public squares? They could find space for them, if the added a story or two. And there then might be a gain for everyone.

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So other countries can demand oil' date=' but the US can't. Got it.

 

I admit I don't follow what's going on in Europe, but isn't their economy doing much worse than the US? Seems those ridiculous gas taxes haven't helped much.[/quote']

 

Anyone can "demand" oil.

The US (per capita) is taking 5X as much as the average of the entire globe.

 

But the US is not paying for that oil with exports - as China and most other countries are doing - it is paying for it by printing its own currency. So far, it has cajoled the world to investing those surplus dollars it sends out into US Treasuries.

 

Great-Wallet-of-China.jpg

 

Were you unaware of this? Do you think it is sustainable - that the demand for US treasuries is insatiable?

 

I was looking for something more up-to-date, but from this you can see that China has stopped growing its holdings of US debt

 

0023ae606c3e11e9a90d0b.jpg

 

As foreign appetite waned, the US needed to find another buyer. It did... The Fed.

 

BTW, the Europeans have other problems with their economies, but the massive per capital addiction to oil imports that the US gas is not one of them.

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There is no possibility of running a rail spur into your local mall or Wal-Mart; in most cases local fregiht delivery remains tied to the 53-foot standard trailer van agreed upon abouy twenty years ago. If the powers that be insist upon forcing us into smalller' date=' boxier, less-crasworthy vehicles, then the iisue is somply going to fester unless a series of tragedies launch a MADD-type grass-roots movement. And the most such an advicay could hope for would be to limit the highways used and/or the hours of operation for a component of our infrastucture we can't function without.[/quote']

 

Would it be a disaster, if Americans bought less foreign junk from places like Walmarts?

 

If they come to live in smaller homes in denser neighborhoods, they are going to have less space for that junk anyway.

 

Instead, they might buy more of their food from local Farmers Markets, and that might be a very good thing.

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I'd like to see a greater diversity of housing types in general - currently, it's a herculean effort to build something not envisioned by the local zoning codes. I would point out that many folks do like to live in less dense communities and the major thing that would change their minds is going to be the cost of such an option. Higher gasoline prices will definitely be a factor there, but increased telecommuting could counterbalance that.

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I'd like to see a greater diversity of housing types in general - currently, it's a herculean effort to build something not envisioned by the local zoning codes. I would point out that many folks do like to live in less dense communities and the major thing that would change their minds is going to be the cost of such an option. Higher gasoline prices will definitely be a factor there, but increased telecommuting could counterbalance that.

 

I agree with you, J.

A hopeful thing is that new types of communities are being built in America, and they tend to be less car dependent.

And many of them are proving to be highly successful.

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From N---R--- : here

 

Why would I move to a city and change my life to one I actively despise to fit the whims of another group? Now if you want car free areas within a city this I can understand. But you seem to have a rabid desire to do away with automobiles all together.

 

Do you "despise" City living because:

+ You lived that way, and found it wanting? (When? Where?), or because:

+ You can imagine how bad it would be to live in a city /

If the second, you should consider changing your attitude - spending some time in an attractive city environment might help you do that.

 

I dislike suburban living, because I grew up in a Detroit "automobile suburb", and found that life wanting. Since I left it behind, I have learned to like urban life. Though not all aspects of it. I think I know how to find the aspects I like, and good transport connections are a key part of it.

 

I hardly have "a rabid desire to do away with autos." And I wonder why you have a "rabid desire" to put words in my mouse.

 

My dislike of the car-dependent culture which dominates large parts of the country is related to the following points:

 

+ Car owners so dominate politics and city planning, that they have robbed most of us of alternative transportation options. This is more true in the US than anywhere else I have lived,

 

+ Car owners grab subsidies for their roads and for free parking, costing the rest of us to pay higher taxes and other financial inconveniences,

 

+ Car owners support politicians looking to expand the expensive US military presence abroad, because the politicians promise to "keep the oil lanes open", while the real purpose of the spending may be to give business to their donors in the military industrial complex, and to support the interests of Israel (another powerful donor),

 

+ Car owners continue investing in the suburbs at a time when the US should be modifying its living arrangement towards something which is cheaper to maintain, and has a less toxic impact on the environment.

 

Beyond these points, I have no particular issues with the car culture, except that I find certain car-oriented conversations to be boring.

 

Do you think my opposition to car dependency is irrational, now that I have listed the reasons?

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I agree with you, J.

A hopeful thing is that new types of communities are being built in America, and they tend to be less car dependent.

And many of them are proving to be highly successful.

 

Yes, and many of the pictures you have posted are beautiful. One unfortunate thing is that these communities frequentely bring along the HOA baggage and can make gardening annoying and having animals impossible.

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Yes, and many of the pictures you have posted are beautiful. One unfortunate thing is that these communities frequentely bring along the HOA baggage and can make gardening annoying and having animals impossible.

 

indeed they do.

But architects pushing Agrarian Urbanism are trying to change that.

 

And then there's the (increasing) correlation between food and oil prices that we should be fighting...

 

There is a strong feedback loop from the price of oil back to the price of food. We need oil to mine phosphates and produce fertilizer. And truck food everywhere.

 

There is the ethanol effect too. Corn which could be fed to animals' date=' is sold into the ethanol market when gasoline prices are high. That drives up meat prices.

 

This is all mitigated to some extent by the use of futures contracts in the agricultial sector to lock in prices. Fuel can float around in the $3 to $4 range and your retail price for food is about the same. But I think we'd be in a new ballgame at $5 a gallon.[/quote']

 

Sean, that is very true for Oil-based agriculture, but much less true for old fashioned, small scale farming. The later is being pushed towards extinction, just at the time when we should be expanding it - to lower the risks in a coming oil shock.

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You do realize that fuel is used to transport things other than people' date=' right? How do you think bananas and avocados suddenly appear in Denver grocery stores? $6 gasoline is absurd....[/quote']

 

Sure - and I have seen this sort of comment before... and responded to it:

 

There is no possibility of running a rail spur into your local mall or Wal-Mart; in most cases local fregiht delivery remains tied to the 53-foot standard trailer van agreed upon abouy twenty years ago. If the powers that be insist upon forcing us into smalller' date=' boxier, less-crasworthy vehicles, then the iisue is somply going to fester unless a series of tragedies launch a MADD-type grass-roots movement. And the most such an advicay could hope for would be to limit the highways used and/or the hours of operation for a component of our infrastucture we can't function without.[/quote']

 

Would it be a disaster, if Americans bought less foreign junk from places like Walmarts?

 

If they come to live in smaller homes in denser neighborhoods, they are going to have less space for that junk anyway.

 

Instead, they might buy more of their food from local Farmers Markets, and that might be a very good thing.

 

$6 gasoline is absurd' date=' and would make our already-expensive food even more expensive. Anyone who wants $6 gasoline is obviously someone who wants a complete economic collapse.[/quote']

I am not saying I "want" to see oil prices rise to $6, $8, $10, or higher - I am saying it is inevitable, and maybe much sooner than you think. Within 2-3 years, would be my prediction. And if you are clever, you may want to think how that might impact upon your life, and begin to prepare for it, or "hedge" against it in some fashion. Perhaps by living somewhere where you might need a car less, or maybe not at all.

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