To know and not to do is to not know
Urbanism’s compact forms lead to less land consumed and more farmland, parks, habitat and open space preserved. A smaller urban footprint results in less development costs and fewer miles of roads, utilities, and services to build and maintain, which then leads to fewer impervious surfaces , less polluted storm runoff, and more water directed back into acquifers.
We begin with the premise that all life on Earth is facing a critical time, during which survivability will be the issue that increasingly dominates public concern. Where survivability is not the issue, the quality of human experience of life may be, as well as the decline in health of the natural world as reflected in the loss of biodiversity, cultural diversity, and the planet’s life support systems.
What we take, how and what we make, what we waste, is in fact a question of ethics. We have unlimited responsibility for the Total. A responsibility which we try to take, but do not always succeed in. One part of this responsibility is the quality of the products and how many years the product will maintain its durability.
Here’s where redesign begins in earnest, where we stop trying to be less bad and we start figuring out how to be good.
More compact development leads to lower housing costs as lower land infrastructure affect sales prices and taxes. Urban development means a different mix of housing types - fewer large single-family lots; more bungalows and townhomes - but in the end provides more housing choices for a more diverse population. It means less private space but more shared community places - more efficient and less expensive overall. Urbanism is more suited to an aging population, for whom driving and yard maintenance are a growing burden, and for working families seeking lower utility bills and less time spent commuting.
We are not going to be able to operate our spaceship earth successfully, nor for much longer, unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.
Urbanism leads to fewer miles driven, which then leads to less gas consumed and less dependence on foreign oil supplies, less air pollution, less carbon emissions. Fewer miles also leads to less congestion, lower emissions, lower road construction and maintenance costs, and fewer auto accidents. This then leads to lower health costs because of fewer accidents and cleaner air, which is reinforced by more walking, bicycling, and exercising, which in turn contributes to lower obesity rates. And more walking leads to more people on the streets, safer neighborhoods, and perhaps stronger communities.The feedback loops go on.
We see a world of abundance, not limits. In the midst of a great deal of talk about reducing the human ecological footprint, we offer a different vision. What if humans designed products and systems that celebrate an abundance of human creativity, culture, and productivity? That are so intelligent and safe, our species leaves an ecological footprint to delight in, not lament?
All the fancy economic development strategies, such as developing a biomedical cluster, an aerospace cluster, or whatever the current economic development ‘flavor of the month’ might be, do not hold a candle to the power of a great walkable urban place.