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  • Every day for the next 35 years, an average of 170,000 people will move to, or be born

  • in, cities in the developing world, mostly in fast-growing areas in Asia and Africa.

  • And there’s a lot to love about cities: theyre chock-full of jobs, art, jobs, community,

  • a small fortune in coins tossed into public fountains — and jobs! Cities can be good

  • for the planet, too - their compact nature means that water, power, transportation, building

  • materials, and land can be used super-efficiently.

  • Except cities aren’t always the supercompact islands of utopian awesome we sometimes imagine.

  • That’s because theyre usually made up of urban cores surrounded by less dense residential,

  • commercial, and industrial zones that sprawl on and on and on and on and on and on and

  • on and on and on

  • Many of us may think of the suburbs as leafy-green lanes lined with picket fences and giant slobbery

  • dogs, but suburbia comes in many forms. And people in suburbs of all types gobble up more

  • energy, water and other resources and emit more pollutants than those in taller, denser

  • urban neighborhoods. They travel further to work and school, have more cars and drive

  • them further, heat and cool bigger homes, and tend bigger yards, negating the compact

  • efficiency of the dense urban cores they surround.

  • So suburb-ringed cities with low overall densities are much less efficient than those that are

  • tightly-packed. And unfortunately, cities around the world are expanding twice as fast

  • in area as they are in population, using up more land and energy and stuff per person.

  • We could reverse this trend by getting rid of resource-hungry suburban sprawl altogether.

  • But that just isn’t how cities tend to develop organically. In reality, wide highways and

  • cheap gas tend to encourage more cars and commuters, and height limits on buildings

  • and separate zoning of homes and businesses push growth outward.

  • So policies allow us to influence the shape of our cities, for bad or good. Investing

  • in mass transit and boosting gas prices encourages people to ditch their cars and live closer

  • to each other, while mixed zoning laws allow them to work and play closer to home. And

  • when people live densely, they use resources less intensely.

  • In cities - as in life - we have a choice: sprawl or grow tall.

Every day for the next 35 years, an average of 170,000 people will move to, or be born

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B1 INT US sprawl urban zoning compact dense tend

How to Build a Better City

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    Victor   posted on 2015/02/08
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