point being?Posted: September 20, 2011
Okay, sometimes we all are bad at getting to the point. I am going to try again (meaning no talk of ruin porn, or food trucks, or food, or dogs).
I call this Motor Cities because the name makes no sense whatsoever. Think about it. The Great American City – Chicago, New York, D.C. (sorta great) – have public transportation beyond that of the private vehicle. Cabs, buses, train, commuter rail, while these are indeed motorized, the point is that New York’s transportation policy was not designed with a Ford F-150 in mind. Transit is designed to share resources, or stipulate that users pay large sums to finance their own private transport. At their most efficient, cities are not “motor cities” where residents drive from point a to point b.
We have a fundamental tension between density and diesel. More people live in cities than in not-cities, a ratio that will become more and more disproportionate as the developing world matures. In some ways, it’s an opportunity: higher density allows us to conserve resources, makes us happier people, makes us smarter people — great! But many cities were designed with diesel specifically in mind – again, back to Detroit. The original Motor City’s grid layout lends itself to easy automobile navigation and the expansion into ever-widening rings of suburbs. And because high density is more expensive than our current subsidization of most things automobile, planners, developers, city managers, and all stakeholders involved in the policy process are incentivized to choose less density and more diesel.
There seems to be a disconnect.
It’s a disconnect I’d like to explore.
I’ll try to investigate, flag, disagree, insult, be insulted, analyze and clarify as best I can.