Recent quotables. No common theme.
Bill McKibbenin Yes! Magazine:
The kind of extreme independence that derived from cheap fossil fuel—the fact that we need our neighbors for nothing at all—can’t last. Either we build real community, of the kind that lets us embrace mass transit and local food and co-housing and you name it, or we will go down clinging to the wreckage of our privatized society.
From the Baffler, “The flight of the creative class: a bohemian rhapsody” (satire), Paul Maliszewski and Thomas Frank:
“Creative people do have certain needs, however, They require hip entertainment, organic street-level culture, and artistic environments—from restaurants serving mind-boggling fusions of world cuisines, like Thai and Tex-Mex or Indian and Australian, to experimental theaters, avant-garde galleries, and authentic coffee shops with mismatched cups and saucers and deteriorating couches. Creative people crave lively street scenes and late-night music venues serving up pricey energy drinks in test tubes. In short, creative people insist they lead the sort of lives that feed their creativity, inspiring them.”
Thomas Geoghegan, “The Law in Shambles” (Prickly Paradigm, 2005), excerpted in same Baffler:
“In a plutocracy, we don’t trust the government. Why should we? It does nothing for us, it is underfunded, and it’s unreliable. This attitude, in turn, makes the problem worse. The more arbitrary and unfair we think things are, the more we drop out. We don’t simply stop voting. We stop reading the paper. Stop following it at all…
“Remember the teaching of the great law professor Clyde Summers: ‘It costs a lot of money for people to have “rights.”‘ […]
“Where I live, in Chicago, I’m in a ring of nuclear power plants. I’d be in terrible danger if we ever successfully muzzled the trial lawyers. It’s only the tort system that saves us from another Three Mile Island. Yes, I agree, it might be nice if we had more nuclear plants. We could cut down on Mideast oil. We could slow down global warming. And if I lived in France, with all its nuclear energy, I might think it was a good thing. So why do I oppose it here?
“Because France has a real administrative state, a real civil service, and the best and brightest do the regulating. In America, we can’t even keep the trains on the tracks. And so, sure, as a citizen, Id like to curb the trial lawyers.
“But I also want to live.”
Some bits from the January 2007 SMARTRAQ report, about the market demand for sprawl vs. walkable neighborhoods, for my future reference:
page 9. Residents of the least walkable neighborhoods generated 20% more CO2 from travel then residents of the most walkable neighborhoods, about 2 kg more CO2 per person per weekday.
Residents of the most walkable areas are 2.4X more likely to get the level of daily activity necessary to maintain health (30 minutes): 37% vs. 18% in the least walkable neighborhoods.
page 10. About a third of metro Atlantans living in conventional suburban development would have preferred a more walkable environment, but apparently traded it off for other reasons such as affordability, school quality, or perception of crime in addition to lack of supply. It is likely that this mismatch between community preference and choice is due to an undersupply of walkable environments.
page 32. 55% of survey respondents preferred a shorter commute, even if residential densities were higher and lot sizes smaller. 33% of respondents preferred such an option, but did not currently live in this type of neighborhood.
56% of respondents would prefer a neighborhood where they had easy travel choices, even if it meant a smaller house, over a house in a neighborhood where they had to drive for everything. 37% would prefer such an area, but did not currently.