Picket Fence Weblog

Solar Not Enough? Welcome to New Urbanism
February 26, 2008, 4:48 pm
Filed under: Links, solar power | Tags:

You may not have ever heard of Andres Duany, but he’s probably studied your neighborhood. If you live in any major metropolitan area, a suburb of that area, or in an up and coming city around the coast line, then chances are Andres Duany knows more about your community than you. I heard about Mr. Duany from Time Magazine staff writer Bryan Walsh who wrote an amazing article called “How Green is Your Neighborhood?

Mr. Duany is one of the leaders of Architectural New Urbanism. In these designs communities are being built, or re-built, with locality being a key concept. In these areas, a car would become a thing of the past. New Urbanism leaders hope for grocery stores, schools, jobs, and other staples to all be in walking distance. People may still own a car, but would not have to drive it everyday. According to recent facts, the average American makes about 14 car trips per day. With the number of SUV’s on the market on the rise (and no signs of slowing sales), and miles per gallon being no better than an average of 25 on the highway, its no wonder we see so many environmental problems.

There are over 3.5 million people in America alone who drive 90 miles one way to get to work. They are most likely driving into a city for their job, from their suburban home. The average size of suburban households has gone up about 1,000 square feet in the last 30 years, while the average family size has decreased.  These are a few scary facts that really show how energy wasteful we have become over the past 30 years.  Americans have become completely reliant on their vehicles and it is apparent that the major oil companies have recognized this trend, and capitalized off it.

We continually think that technology is going to save us.  Technology got us into this mess, so the answer must be more technology. This is where Andres Duany comes in.  His resolve is in fact, not so technological.  With New Urbanism, there would not be the need for cars.  This would drastically reduce carbon emissions therefore increasing our air quality.  He, and the other New Urbanism leaders, believe that the middle class, who make up the majority of suburbia, are not helping in the cause.  Keep a look out for New Urbanism as it makes its climb to better awareness.

Would you like to take the first small step?  Visit shoppicketfence.com for a selection of solar powered devices and lighting.  The first step is the most important.

As always,  Art.


2 Comments so far
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Thanks for a great distillation of the points and helping to raise the visibility of this important work. At present NU communities are somewhat expensive. But as more people demand this kind of planning, the prices will come down and the environment (not to mention our quality of life) will be the better for it.

Comment by victoria

I had never heard of New Urbanism before this post. I think it will be hard to convert car loving Americans, but clearly something drastic needs to happen.

Comment by Ann

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