Concentrate development in urban areas. 

Advocates

Compare

Vishaan Chakrabarti

“Imagine a country of cities. No more subsidized highways, no more mortgage deductions, and no more free rides at the gas pump.” A Country of Cities

To Chakrabarti, density is the key to reducing energy consumption: “Statistically the average New Yorker uses a third less energy than the average American without really adopting any green technology, simply by virtue of using mass transit and by living in party wall construction where we heat and cool each others’ apartments. It just makes a massive, massive dent.” Underdome Interview

Dense development is both an economic and ecological necessity, and is key to surviving an economic crisis: “Density means economic diversity. It’s almost always the way. No matter whether you go to poor densities or rich densities, there’s always a tremendous economic diversity there. So if you look at New York City when the recession started, there was a fear that the city was going to lose three hundred thousand jobs, along the lines of what it lost in the late ‘70s. We’ve capped out at a job loss of one hundred and eleven, one hundred and twelve thousand jobs. It’s nowhere near as deep as people thought it was going to be in New York. I think New Yorkers who don’t travel the rest of the country have no idea how desperate a situation it is in the rest of the country. These places are decimated. There’s nothing. So that, to me, is again a byproduct of lifestyle. It’s a byproduct of the lack of density, because there simply isn’t enough diversification in the economy for those places to go anywhere else. ” Underdome Interview

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The ARRA has alloted $8.4 billion for public transportation (for maintenance, new construction, and new equipment).  While investments in urban infrastructure are significantly smaller than those in highway construction and maintenance, these investments go hand in hand with housing assistance programs, community development grants, and the newly created Office of Urban Affairs led by former Bronx Borough President in New York and urban planner Adolfo Carrion.   (see also NETWORK: Distributed Infrastructures)

Bjorn Lomborg

Dense urbanization has significant benefits to human health and well-being, argues Lomborg:   “In more densely populated areas, the most serious infectious diseases… become less of a problem the closer the buildings are together, because less space is left for the swampy areas…. Moreover water supplies, sewage systems and health services are considerably better in urban areas than in rural ones…  ‘cities are growing because they provide on average greater social and economic benefits than do rural areas” Skeptical Environmentalist, 49

Commentary

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