Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cities: A Smart Alternative to Cars

I heard a rumour that Buzz Hargrove ghost-wrote this article for Business Week magazine. It's a stretch. Let me know what you think...

A Smart Alternative to Cars
Creating compact communities—and eliminating the need to drive everywhere—may be the best way to slash greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles

"...The best car-related innovation we have is not to improve the car but to eliminate the need to drive it everywhere we go. In the U.S,, we need to stop sprawl and build well-designed compact communities. The land-use patterns in our communities dictate not only how much we drive, but how sustainable we can be on all sorts of fronts. And sprawled-out land uses generate enormous amounts of automotive greenhouse gases. A recent major study, Growing Cooler, published by Smart Growth America, a coalition of national, state, and local organizations that addresses urban planning, makes the point clearly: If 60% of new developments were even modestly more compact, we'd emit 85 million fewer metric tons of tailpipe [car emissions] CO2 each year by 2030—as much as would be saved by raising the national mileage standards to 32 mpg."

You can read the entire article here.


John said...

Well it's not rocket science. The more walkable your neighbourhood, the less you'll *need* your car. Even Buzz can figure that one out, although I strongly doubt he ghost wrote that article.

Along with downtown obviously, I'd like to see all those vacancies along Ottawa and Tecumseh road filled with more essential services - hair salons, delis, markets, pharmacies, etc. Of course they wouldn't be empty in the first place if it wasn't for our city's culture of "jump in the car and go to Walmart" for everything. What can one do to change this pervasive culture, because small businesses can't survive if people chose to get in their car - in their driveway around the corner - and drive right past them to get to the Mall. With the economy on a downturn it's going to get HARDER not easier because people will be compelled more than ever to search out that 58 cent tube of toothpaste or that $3 t-shirt.

Urbanrat said...

I once read a quote or a passage and can't remember where or when but it went like this: Someone famous was asked about their idea of good size city? The answer came back; "a city that you can walk out of in a day." Beethoven was often seen walking in the woods on the outskirts of the city, waving his arms and singing to himself.

Imagine and not just the core of this city that we had walk to other communities strung like pearls, Erie, Ottawa, downtown, the university community, Sandwich, Droulliard, Wyandotte and the Riverside or by short bus trip or by bike.

On good days I walk to Market Square on Ottawa from downtown, taking different paths through different communities it takes me about 30 minutes, then depending how much I bought, the bus home.

Several months ago, Canadian Tire as reported in the Globe and Mail, stated that they plan to build 60 to 70 new stores in Canada. I wrote them about rebuilding in the core, giving them demographics, the fact that there isn't a hardware store anywhere in the larger core area. I sent the same info to Rona. I got the standard reply but it was worth asking.

Why the city approved the box stores on the west in, to this day stills baffles me! Box stores kill the small stores in the communities I mention above. I can't walk to those stores. And besides, I know a lot of the merchants downtown on a friendly daily basis, not so in the box stores or the mall.

The mayor and council aren't living up to the idea that they ramming down our throats of a Smart, Creative city.