Tag Archives: sprawl

Pedaling Toward a Post-Carbon Future

In 2008, according to the U.S. Census, 720,000 Americans commuted to work by bike–43 percent more than in 2000. It would be nice to say that the growth was driven by a concern for the climate, but the main reason is economics. “People bike because it’s fast, cheap, and easy to get around,” says Penalosa, “not because it’s good for the environment.” Christopher Leinberger, a land-use strategist at the Brookings Institution, notes that people who are auto-dependent spend 25 percent of their income on transportation, compared with 9 percent for those who walk, bike, or take public transit.
Continue reading

Posted in Auto Independence, can bicycles save the world?, Climate Change, Culture, human scale, Livability, Placemaking, Sustainability, transit, Transportation, urban design, urban planning, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating Car-Reduced and Car-Free Pedestrian Habitats

It will take a long time for the US to embrace pedestrians, bicycling, and electric carts as substitutes for cars in our communities. And yet an inevitable change is coming that will significantly increase environmental quality, and restore real community and economic viability. Changing legislation, master planning, and the development of car-reduced and car-free communities will move us forward, writes Greg Ramsey. Continue reading

Posted in Auto Independence, Culture, human scale, Livability, Placemaking, Shout Outs, Sustainability, transit, Transportation, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Beauty Kills—A Self-Rebuttal: Or, Why Joel Kotkin isn’t Always Wrong

In my recent post, Universal Beauty and the Responsibility of Cities, I argued that beauty is an essential element of urbanism. Forget all of that for a moment; here’s the other side of the coin: beauty kills. It can turn cities into lifeless museums animated only by tourists, inhibiting creativity and innovation while exacerbating segregation and homogenization. Look at any interior design magazine spread; room upon room of artful still-life orchestration. These are rooms that pose, not rooms that are lived in. Look at fashion models, their faces inscrutable and eyes vacant. True, this is not the sort of beauty I was advocating, but an emphasis on beauty can quickly lead one astray if untempered. Beauty is essential, yes, but it can be as intoxicating as drugs, and potentially as destructive.
Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Placemaking, Rants, Response Pieces, Sustainability, Uncategorized, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deep Walkability

The true test of walkability I think is this: Can you spend a pleasant half hour walking or on transit and end up at a variety of great places? The quality of having a feast of options available when you walk out your front door is what I starting to think of as “deep walkability.” Continue reading

Posted in Auto Independence, Culture, human scale, Livability, Placemaking, Shout Outs, transit, Transportation, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Universal Beauty and the Responsibility of Cities

In chapter eight of Anthony M. Tung’s erudite and impressive Preserving the World’s Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis, there is a passage that stopped me in my proverbial tracks and hasn’t left my thoughts since. Tung is writing about Amsterdam at the dawn of the 20th century:

As parts of the inner city became slums and were threatened with clearance, and as picturesque canals were filled in to create new roads and better circulation, elements of the historic environment began to be eliminated. Growing numbers of citizens became alarmed and called for preservation of the historic center. In addition, a new ring of speculative housing began to surround the old metropolis. Numerous Amsterdammers began to ask that the expansion of the city meet a reasonable standard of beauty. Continue reading

Posted in Culture, History, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Placemaking, Rants, Sustainability, Uncategorized, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments