Monday, December 15, 2008

Suburbia--NOT resilient, but with potential

One point I wanted to raise (and that was brought up in comments at The Oil Drum) regarding my "Resilient Suburbia Series": I'm not claiming that suburbia, at present, is resilient or sustainble. Far from it. Rather, my argument is that the current dispersion in suburbia, of land ownership, of population density, etc., provides a lattice structure on top of which it is possible to build a truly resilient, sustainable society. This society may not look anything like today's suburbia--the reason why today's suburbia is relevant in this context is that it provides a suitable foundation for such a development, whereas urban areas (and their equally unsustainable present form) do not (or, at least not to the same extent).

6 comments:

Cycling in Hollywood said...

Hi Jeff -- enjoyed your suburbia series a lot -- I currently live in central Hollywood but we'll probably move to the older INNER suburbs here in SoCal once the property market bottoms out. I love it where I am now, but I'm looking to get a big enough piece of suburban land that I can grow a significant amount of food.

Inner suburbs here in LA may already have mass transit, etc. We were looking at one place where I could have gardened as much as I wanted and only 2 blks from Ventura Blvd, rapid bus access, shopping, etc.

Rice Farmer said...

This is a good series of posts, and again I'd like to thank you for trying to see some positive among all the negative.

As far as suburbia being a colossal misappropriation of resources, I agree totally with Kunstler. But many lives are at stake, and this series shows that with much hard work, imagination, and some good luck, much can be salvaged and many lives can be saved. It's certainly not going to be easy, but if surburbanites can form communities and pull together, there are plenty of possibilities for mitigating the pain.

RDatta said...

There is too much useful stuff in suburbia for it to be completely abandoned. In some places people live in cardboard boxes. Suburbia has quite a bit more to offer, even when cut off from utilities and transportation. And while it lasts, the remains can be scavenged when scarcity prevails.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps its not the geographic area that's "resilient" as much as the people who occupy it? I would much rather be stuck during a system collapse with the people in my subdivision than even the people in the "hip" or "artsy," (read:non-violent) parts of the city that my suburb sits outside of.

Maybe "resiliency" isn't about place as much as the future orientation or disciplne of the residents.

I have a funny feeling that the Katrina crowd could be given the best RCs in the world, but still end up like helpless children in the event of a system failure?

And this brings up an important question when thinking about RCs and potential system disruptions. WHO is the RC responsible for? If my RC is prepared for system collapse and the folks in the next town over are not; what happens when they come to the "front gate" expecting a free sandwich?

You're a lawyer, so I think you're the guy to ask this question? Does my RC have to open the "front gates" to everyone? What about just Americans? Green-card holders?

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