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(Un)Paving Our Way To Nirvana

Making better choices in the future
Monday, November 25, 2013, 8:10 PM

You can’t overstate the baleful effects for Americans of living in the tortured landscapes and townscapes we created for ourselves in the past century. This fiasco of cartoon suburbia, overgrown metroplexes, trashed small cities and abandoned small towns, and the gruesome connective tissue of roadways, commercial smarm, and free parking is the toxic medium of everyday life in this country. Its corrosive omnipresence induces a general failure of conscious awareness that it works implacably at every moment to diminish our lives. » Read more

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A Better Human Habitat for the Next Economy

How to build for prosperity
Monday, November 25, 2013, 8:10 PM

Executive Summary

  • 'Smaller' will be the major theme in future development
  • The general principles for resilient human settlement
  • How redesigning our towns & cities offers liberation from the soul-sucking models we live in today
  • What we can leverage from the New Urbanist movement

If you have not yet read (Un)Paving Our Way To Nirvana, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Before I review some of the basic rules and principles for assembling a human habitat worth living in and with some prospects of enduring, a few words about demographic change. The failing suburbs will not drive everybody in them to move to the cities. The big cities of America face equal difficulties with resource and capital scarcity, failing infrastructure that won’t be replaced, and problems as yet off the radar screen such as water safety, public health, food shortages, and social turmoil. The big cities will have to get a lot smaller and that process will take decades to resolve.

I’m convinced that the action in this country will move to the existing smaller cities and small towns, especially places that have a meaningful relationship with food production because there ought to be no question that agri-business will fail, and with it the entire food production and distribution process as we currently know it. One implication of this is that we will restore a visible edge between what is urban and what is rural, and what these places are for. As that occurs people will redevelop an appreciation for the distinction. The human settlement will no longer endeavor to be a cartoon of the rural countryside. And rural places will be organized and inhabited differently.

Therefore, a first general principle is... » Read more