Peak Oil to Suburbs: Pay up the nose now, collapse later

From an excellent article in the Edmonton Journal by Dan Gardner:

A somewhat less obvious benefit is the smack in the face urban planners are about to receive. As the cost of transportation rises, people will value housing nearer to their work and they will find it absurd that the purchase of a quart of milk or a visit to the gym requires the ignition of an internal combustion engine. Urban design that brings homes, shops and employers closer together — and allows people to get around on feet and bicycle wheels — will flourish. Suburban monocultures and soul-crushing commutes will slowly shrivel.

Read the whole thing. Then, let’s learn from the Norwegian example.

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8 responses to “Peak Oil to Suburbs: Pay up the nose now, collapse later

  1. Good article. Thanks for calling it to my attention. Chris Leo.

  2. Much ado about nothing. Internal combustion engines are on their way out. Major commitments are being made in this area.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/14/electric-cars-take-over-1_n_112771.html

    What impresses me most , is the urgency that is being felt by manufacturers. this is good news.

  3. Hi Sigh,

    Thanks for the link. Your comment deserves a thourough response but I’m crunched for time right now. Suffice it to say: where does electricity come from? Here’s a little research project for you:

    If we were to convert 50% of our car fleet in North America to Electric cars, how many additional KW would we need to produce? How many coal, gas, and nuclear plants, how many hydro dams, etc. will need to be produced? Can we produce enough energy to power all these electric vehicles?

  4. One step at a time Donald. Keep focused on what your objective is. Certainly reducing our dependence on oil is a major one with the benefit of being more environmentally responsible. That is the trend we in North America will experience.

    As far as how you will generate enough electricity:

    increasing the amount you can store

    range you can travel

    Grid – including nukes

    More interesting, personal generation such as solar/wind, your very own personal Hydro station.

    Electricity suppliers may even have to consider industry locating closer to the source ( so we don’t lose 50% of the charge in transmitting it )

    Can we produce enough energy? I think so. We can also maximize what we already produce by storing it more efficiently.

    In the meantime, social re-enginneering can procede and I would invite everyone to stop Waverley West and to take a close look at the 88 Hectare hole in the middle of the City.

    You will also have to consider making dramatic changes. One such change, and believe me, its very unpopular, is to move the University of Manitoba downtown. This would negate the need for an LRT and centralize distances traveled from all parts of the City, thereby maximizing and fully leveraging the system we now have. Not to mention , a dramatic decrease in the use of automobiles to access the university. Look, for me, the thought of bringing 25 to 30 thousand people into the core everyday is alot more exciting then figuring out a way to get them out of the core or building infrastructure outside the core.

    For me, electric cars are a great step forward and industry is adapting. There is lots that can be done in the short term, unfortunately, its beyond us, and is left up to others.

  5. Sigh said:
    “Can we produce enough energy? I think so. We can also maximize what we already produce by storing it more efficiently.”

    Well, that seems like a bold prediction. I have not yet seen – not that there isn’t one – a comprehensive study to show that we are able to run the grid in North America with most cars as electric vehicles. I would love to be proven wrong. As for energy storage, we’ve got a long way to go there, and besides, storing energy is not the same as producing it.

    On the issue of personal power generation, from what I recall from George Monbiot’s “Heat”, there isn’t a substantial enough amount of wind and solar power that can be produced at home.

    On the U of M, moving them downtown seems a bit of a challenge, no? With facilities already built to deal with 40,000 people, I would hope that there are better solutions available. But, I’ll leave that one aside as I’m sleepy.

  6. Back to the point about would this project have gone forward without city funding. The Sun runs an article today that says:

    “Back in January, the city announced it would give up to $7 million to the best proposal for a public-use water park that could be operational by November 2009.

    The city got five proposals, and the public service eventually recommended a plan to build a $43 million, 66,000 square-foot park with 4,800 square feet of outdoor annex space adjacent to Canad Inns Polo Park, which will also add a new $13-million hotel tower added as part of the expansion. ”

    So what would have happened if the city never initiated that process? Perhaps a project would have occurred anyway… perhaps not. Perhaps they didn’t need to attach money to it. Again, who knows. My point is, let’s try uncover as many facts as we can before we rush to conclusions.

    Sun article – http://www.winnipegsun.com/News/Winnipeg/2008/07/17/6180021-sun.html

  7. Phil, you are in the wrong thread.

  8. Not sure what happened there. Thanks Sigh.

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