A convenient answer to climate change
Climate change has been back in the news lately due to Hurricane Sandy. Urban designer and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts Jeff Speck, author of the recently published Walkable City, makes the case that smart growth is a key strategy for addressing this issue. In an excerpt published in Salon from his book, Speck explains why compact cities generate far less carbon per person. Although a place like Manhattan generates the fewest carbon emissions per person, communities don't need to build at 200 units per acre to make a difference. Studies show that the maximum benefit is achieved simply by going from low-density suburbia to a walkable neighborhood — about 20 units per acre, he explains. "In each case, increasing density from two units per acre to 20 units per acre resulted in about the same savings as the increase from 20 to 200," Speck says. Such changes can also result in higher quality of life and lower transportation costs, he says.
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