Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cars do not belong in cities

Cars do not belong in cities.  A standard American sedan can comfortably hold 4+ adults w/ luggage, can travel in excess of 100 miles per hour, and can travel 300+ miles at a time without stopping to refuel.  These are all great things if you are traveling long distances between cities.  If you are going by yourself to pickup your dry cleaning, then cars are insanely over-engineered for the task.  It’s like hammering in a nail with a diesel-powered pile driver.   To achieve all these feats (high capacity, high speed, and long range driving), cars must be large and powered by fossil fuels.  So when you get a few hundred (or thousand) cars squeezed onto narrow city streets, you are left with snarled traffic and stifling smog.

Even if you ignore the pollution, cars simply take up too much space.   Next time you are stuck in traffic behind what seems like a million cars, try to imagine if all those cars where replaced by pedestrians or bike riders.  Suddenly, the congestion is gone.

Cars Kill Cities (Progressive Transit)

Permaculture suburbs

Once upon a time, all the talk in hippy circles was of the end of suburbia. But what if we could create suburbs that are designed to function in harmony with their surroundings?

That's the concept behind Village Homes in Davis, California. From passive solar housing through neighborhood fruit orchards, chicken coops and beehives to a carefully designed system of swales which is intended to let rainwater percolate into the ground, this 70 acre, 225-home site is about as harmonious as one can image any suburb to be.

How to build a permaculture suburb (Treehugger)