Tuesday, July 05, 2005

america leads the way

How Dense Can We Be?
Yesterday's post on Density as Efficiency triggered an interesting discussion in the comments, and reader Laurence Aurbach provided some very useful links expanding upon the issue. One link in particular stood out: the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy's online exploration of "Visualizing Density."

Modes of living need to be re-examined now if we are to have a post-peak soft landing, and the storm clouds are on the horizon. WorldChanging has a couple of recent entries that roll up a lot of the nicer ideas and motifs out there.

The general idea for the first few years following a peak is to conserve at the rate of depletion. Density will not initially be as pretty as presented. It will just be necessary.

Meanwhile, it is instructive to compare conservation-friendly density dreams with what is actually happening:

Big cities losing people (Thanks James Moe for the tip)
But new Census Bureau estimates to be released today show many cities slipping again. More than two dozen large cities that had been growing a decade ago are shrinking. Fast-growing suburbs with service-sector jobs and more affordable housing are attracting thousands of foreign-born residents who in the past would have started out in the city.

"The passing of abundant oil is not shaping up to be a soft landing for those with the fattest asses. And in this world, we all know which nation leads the way in obesity."


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