By Nathan Lewis – New World Economics
For anything to get done, these people need to cooperate. They can disagree on minor points, but in the context of achieving a shared goal. If they have completely different goals — one guy wants to build high-rises and another guy insists on single-family homes, and each has project-killing ability — then the project will not get built, or at the very best, it would be some kind of compromise between the two which is neither fish nor fowl. Read on…
by Nathan Lewis New World Economics
Carfree.com has relocated to Bhaktapur, Nepal, an ancient city located just 13 kilometers east of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The city’s population of about 80,000 is densely housed in streets and buildings that closely resemble the Reference Design for carfree cities. Most houses border on a narrow street and on an interior courtyard of appreciable size. Most of the houses are three or four stories tall.
The Institute is housed in a modern “pillar building” made predominately of reinforced concrete. These buildings are not as attractive as the traditional buildings but are expected to fare much better in the earthquakes that often strike in this region.
We have been very busy with infrastructure, and this issue of Carfree Times is the first significant work since Carfree.com departed from Summit, New Jersey in the USA three months ago. Read On…
by Eerik Wissenz for ClubOrlov
“One often hears the claim that large-scale urbanism is now inevitable because the world is now over 50% urbanized… A far more reasonable assumption is that peak urban density will have roughly coincided with peak fossil fuels production, and as the latter heads down, so will the former.” Excerpted from “The Inevitable Wisdom of Going Solar” Read the complete essay here.
Andrew Alexander Price
I try not to talk about the environment very much, because there are a lot of environmentalists out there already. But, a few month ago we had an engineer come to our city. He was discussing environmentally friendly design, and he showed us a photo of a parking lot; He was talking about how ‘green’ it was – how the breathable asphalt does not disturb the drainage of rainwater and how it incorporated natural foliage that would filter the runoff.
I sat there and watched blankly. Read On…
Nathan Lewis – New World Economics originally in Forbes
The first criticisms of the American automobile suburb began about the same time as the suburbs themselves appeared in the 1920s and expanded in the postwar period. “There’s no there there,” lamented Gertrude Stein about Oakland, California, in 1937. She would know — she grew up there.
But, if we aren’t going to build suburbs, what should we build? Read On….
Nathan Lewis – New World Economics
The notion of an “eco-technic civilization” is popular these days. It is a good alternative to the “retro-eco” idea which is everywhere today — that to be in harmony with the earth, one should live in some sort of 19th century fashion. Actually, people in the 19th century were not particularly environmentally aware at all. They scoured the oceans for whales so they could light oil lamps, and deforested much of the North American continent before coal became cheaper than wood. Isn’t a solar-powered LED light better than that? Wouldn’t you rather cook on a modern gas stove (could be from renewable sources, including wood gas, or ethanol) rather than on a primitive wood stove? Team retro-eco then goes farther back in their wayback machine, to perhaps the preindustrial 18th century, or Native American primitivism. One problem with this is that it won’t support large populations. The estimated population of the world in 1750 was 791 million people, about 11% of today’s number.
Can’t we keep the best parts of today’s civilization, but fix the bad parts? Is this such a bad idea? Of course, it’s a good idea. Alas, Team Techno-Eco today is usually pretty stupid too. Read On……
1. Build compact cities in which all destinations are within convenient walking distance. Prohibit motor vehicles within the city.
2. Surround the city with garden plots for each household, within convenient walking distance, of a size sufficient to raise a significant amount of food.
3. Construct the city of attached, durable and fire resistant buildings, no taller than a walkable height, fronting on narrow streets, with arcaded sidewalks.
4. Arrange buildings to create small plazas for public space and to create interior courtyards for private and semi-private space.
5. Return all water, after biological purification, to the source of origin or aquifer. Remove all organic waste, including human waste, to the garden plots surrounding the city.
6. In governance, practice subsidiarity, whereby a matter is “handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralized authority capable of addressing it”.