Thursday, June 18, 2009

Resilient Suburbia Mention

I'm a bit behind the time, but I just learned today while doing an interview on renewable energy transition that Bill McKibben recently mentioned my Resilient Suburbia series.  McKibben writes:

Though our sprawl is designed for the car, the sunk costs of those tens of millions of houses mean they're not going to disappear just because the price of gas rises. They'll have to change instead. "Suburbia, not as a model for material consumption, but as a legal and social lattice of decentralized and more uniformly distributed production land ownership, has the potential to serve as the foundation for just such a pioneering adaptation," writes Jeff Vail, a widely read economic theorist who envisions "a Resilient Suburbia."

1 comment:

Rice Farmer said...

Certainly there is potential. We cannot and should not completely write off the suburbs. At the same time, not all suburbs are created equal. Much depends on what kind of people live there (and their expectations), the location, what resources lie at hand, and other factors. Some areas are going to turn into total disaster areas and depopulate. We've already seen this in places such as Detroit, where whole neighborhoods of abandoned and crumbling homes are razed and returned to nature (definitely the right course of action in some situations). But other suburban areas will have the potential to thrive if they can effectively use local resources (land, water, wooded areas, etc.), build localized economies, link those economies with other localized economies, and create mutually supportive communities. Of course, everyone will have to considerably lower their expectations, as life will be much different under energy decline. It's a good topic deserving of more discussion!