"Public transit is far from the only thing that makes for a shorter commute. As those economists found, it’s also a question of sprawl. City design and transit go hand in hand: it’s easier to design a public transit system that efficiently connects people in a more compact city than in a big one."
— Suburban sprawl and bad transit can crush opportunity for the poor | Vox, 7/23/14
"Parking spaces create heat islands and sources of polluted stormwater runoff. They hollow out cities and divide neighborhoods. They are significant generators of emissions, accounting for as much as 12 percent of energy consumption and greenhouse gases, and at least 24 percent of other emissions."
— How Parking Spaces Are Eating Our Cities Alive | Citylab
Jokey post title, but this is actually pretty serious…
A Yale study finds that urban heat islands are worse in the climate of the southeastern US. The effect on cities like Atlanta & Nashville could be huge as global temps rise, according to the report.
The culprit turns out to be a toxic mix of wet, hot weather and the vast surfaces of our human built environment. In that climate, the surfaces trap heat longer instead of letting out slowly into the lower atmosphere.
My amateur prescription for our future’s health: reduce the surface area of our built environment by building up instead of out (multistory instead of detached, low-rise structures), narrowing our road surfaces and reducing highway infrastructure (which will require undoing car dependency, of course) and, most importantly, shedding ourselves of our deadly heat-trapping parking lots.
Region saved. Lives spared. You’re welcome!
Above image from an equally scary NASA page on Atlanta heat islands.
"Seattle’s population grew 2.8 percent in the year ending July 2013…The rise reflects a new urbanism that’s made places like Denver and Atlanta more appealing, especially for those who can’t afford a house or prefer pedestrian-friendly spaces to suburbs."
— I had to share this quote from a Bloomberg.com article about Seattle. It’s pretty cool to read the words “urbanism,” “pedestrian-friendly” and “Atlanta” in the same sentence in the national press.
"Prior to World War II, every city in America was built for easy walking and biking. In fact, the idea of living in a walkable place is nothing radical. What was radical was the program we undertook to build an entirely new type of human life…Americans have grown up fully immersed in the car culture, not knowing alternatives — and that’s a problem."
— Finding Freedom in the Walkable Neighborhood | This Big City, 7/7/2014
"I see us entering an era where distinctions between city and suburb will disappear. Suburbs will begin to look like cities physically, while cities will begin to look like suburbs demographically. Suburbs that stand to benefit in the upcoming era will be ones that urbanize, and attract a group that effectively repudiates the lifestyle of previous generations."
— It’s Getting Harder And Harder To Tell Cities And Suburbs Apart | Business Insider, 7/7/2014