GOOD urbanism- as opposed to more suburbanism and/or electric cars- is the key to addressing the issues of climate change and political gridlock. We travel 1000’s of miles to places like London, Paris, Venice or even Disneyland just to spend time in satisfying walkable spaces when we could just build them here. Good urban spaces require less energy and resource inputs (gasoline, natural gas, water), and encourage less material consumption. The best “commodities” in a good urban space? Experiences. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops, theaters, concerts, and just a simple walk through a beautiful space. Why spend 1-2 hours a day in stop-and-go traffic, spewing 1-2 hours worth of CO2 into the air, when we could be sipping drinks at a sidewalk cafe with our friends and family?
There is a huge migration to small and medium-sized cities in America due to outrageous real-estate prices in our huge metro areas and the benefits of telecommunication. Small and medium sized cities also offer the opportunity to start small businesses- from small bakeries to boutique law firms- for those who can’t afford it in places like LA, NYC or San Fran. I think this is an amazing opportunity to change the political face of America, to blue-up some of these deep-red places in our country. I also think it’s an opportunity to change the way we occupy the landscape… creating GOOD urban areas in small and medium-sized American cites that attract new residents and investment while naturally reducing our carbon footprint.
This is a great podcast on the subject, if you’re interested.