Sunday, March 2, 2008

Left a good job in the city...

Here is a great article from a Harvard professor on density, cities and the environment. Here an interesting paragraph:

Cities also face an uneven playing field because suburban residents do not pay for the full environmental costs of low-density living. Henry David Thoreau was right about caring for our environment, but wrong about how to achieve that end. People who live surrounded by green space often do much more harm to that green space than people who live in dense cities. In 1844, Thoreau's outdoor lifestyle was itself responsible for destroying 300 acres of Concord woods, which caught fire as a result of the great naturalist's attempt to cook chowder outdoors.

Here is another:

While we should be encouraging development in dense, urban areas that use less energy, many of our policies work exactly in the wrong direction. Our land use restrictions push development away from dense areas, with plenty of NIMBY-ist neighbors, toward empty spaces with fewer noisy abutters. Our transportation policies fail to charge people for the full social costs of driving long distances on crowded highways. Our localized school system encourages prosperous parents to flee urban poverty. Just think of how the 1974 Supreme Court decision that limited busing to within city boundaries encouraged mass suburbanization to get beyond those city borders.


Iconic Xer. said...

Amen! Say it like it is, FM. For many years I've believed that people who choose to live farther out from the center of a municipality's services should pay more for the *relational* increased cost of serving them. Worse: Many of them move out from the center of services then complain vociferously that they are under-served. Duh.

Also, the "just because I can see green around me means I'm more environmentally sensitive (and better than you!)" folks are a factually deluded bunch, too. IMO, that is.

Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

"I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 2,000 people in the Boston phone directory than those on staff at Harvard University".
-William F. Buckley

I don't understand, equally as you don't understand and are frustrated by people who move to Columbia and then want to create Baltmore City. Move there, if what you want is a traditional urban residence.

So sprawl is bad. The way we doit, Yeah. We know. What about everyone is suburbia tossing the grass for a vegetable garden and some fruit trees, and giving up the lawn chemicals?

I have to agree, people move to the suburbs and whine about everything that is not urban. They're not listening to their inner voice (move to Baltimore, move to DC) any more than you are.

A neighbor once said to me that he was sickened by any bug or animal not human. Funny, I felt the same way about him!

He has since set out to kill anything within a 10 mile radius. He needs to be in DC, bad, before he kills us all.

Mr. Itoldusew said...

Grass is green
Chemials are mean.

Lets move to the city,
where the roads are gritty.

Or to the burbs
and plant poison herbs.

Where ever we do,
it wouldn't snow.

We will lust, till we bust.
Like old cars, our values rust.

But we know, Old Mother Nature will surive.

She patiently waits, till we are
not alive.