Urbanism in the age of climate change

Urbanism in the age of climate change. Peter Calthorpe (Island Press, 2011).

For a book promoting environmental conservation, it is surprising that there are so many glossy multi-color tables and graphs in this book. The chemicals used to make color dyes are a known source of pollution. Anyway, the thesis of this book is that green technologies will not be enough to keep our global carbon footprint down to an acceptable level in coming years unless we also embrace “urbanism.”  Living in more densely populated places saves a lot of energy, preserves open space, and is also better for our health (because we walk more). Not all of us will have to live in condos in cities – some of us can live in townhouses in close-in neighborhoods served by transit. How we will bring the crime rate down, improve the schools, and provide grocery stores, so people will actually be willing to live in urban areas, is conveniently left as a problem for the reader. Nevertheless Calthorpe does have a valid point about the energy savings.

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