Our Suburbs...Arnold, Hunt Meadow, etc. Take Note: A Third Bay Bridge Span? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Friday, September 12, 2008

Our Suburbs...Arnold, Hunt Meadow, etc. Take Note: A Third Bay Bridge Span?

The New York Times hosted a fascinating discussion on the topic of "What Is the Future of Suburbia? A Freakonomics Quorum". As expected, James Kunstler, one of CP's favorite writers, had hard-hitting things to tell us:

The automobile will be a diminishing presence in our lives, whether we like it or not. Further proof of our obdurate cluelessness in these matters is the absence of any public discussion about restoring the passenger railroad system — even as the airline industry is also visibly dying. The campaign to sustain suburbia and all its entitlements will result in a tragic squandering of our dwindling resources and capital.

The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins. In any case, the suburbs will lose value dramatically, both in terms of usefulness and financial investment. Most of the fabric of suburbia will not be “fixed” or retrofitted, in particular the residential subdivisions. They were built badly in the wrong places. We will have to return to traditional modes of inhabiting the landscape — villages, towns, and cities, composed of walkable neighborhoods and business districts — and the successful ones will have to exist in relation to a productive agricultural hinterland, because petro-agriculture (as represented by the infamous 3000-mile Caesar salad) is also now coming to an end. Fortunately, we have many under-activated small towns and small cities in favorable locations near waterways. This will be increasingly important as transport of goods by water regains importance.

Hmmmmm....a little harsh perhaps, but I love "obdurate cluelessness." Makes CP think of the hyperconservative bloggers who called me "stupid" and a "dumbass" because I am opposed to a third Bay Bridge crossing. Hmmmm....Baltimore's population has been declining for years, we're running out of oil and they want to spread more sprawl to the Eastern Shore.

How about this from Thomas Antus:

With a massive increase in the population density there will be a traffic light on every single corner. Smart individuals will have seen this coming and invested heavily in the firms that manufacture and install traffic lights, creating a new class of wealthy Americans (the “stop light rich”).

Sure why not? We already have the oil rich and oil poor. The automobile rich and automobile poor.


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