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Opinion: US suburban design makes gasoline war inevitable

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  • irvin dawid
    Classmates and friends, I couldn t resist... Urban Planning, and a possible war in Iraq... Hope you find it as interesting as I did, Irv ... Subject: Opinion:
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 23, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Classmates and friends,
      I couldn't resist...
      Urban Planning, and a possible war in Iraq...
      Hope you find it as interesting as I did,
      Irv



      ----Original Message Follows----


      Subject: Opinion: US suburban design makes gasoline war inevitable

      Published Saturday, January 18, 2003, in The Guardian

      Car wars

      The US economy needs oil like a junkie needs heroin - and Iraq will
      supply its next fix

      Ian Roberts

      War in Iraq is inevitable. That there would be war was decided by
      North American planners in the mid-1920s. That it would be in Iraq was
      decided much more recently. The architects of this war were not
      military planners but town planners. War is inevitable not because of
      weapons of mass destruction, as claimed by the political right, nor
      because of western imperialism, as claimed by the left. The cause of
      this war, and probably the one that will follow, is car dependence.

      The US has paved itself into a corner. Its physical and economic
      infrastructure is so highly car dependent that the US is
      pathologically addicted to oil. Without billions of barrels of
      precious black sludge being pumped into the veins of its economy every
      year, the nation would experience painful and damaging withdrawal.

      The first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line in 1908 and was a
      miracle of mass production. In the first decade of that century, car
      registrations in the US increased from 8,000 to almost 500,000. Within
      the cities, buses replaced trams, and then cars replaced buses. In
      1932, General Motors bought up America's tramways and then closed them
      down. But it was the urban planners who really got America hooked. Car
      ownership offered the possibility of escape from dirty, crowded cities
      to leafy garden suburbs and the urban planners provided the escape
      routes.

      Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, America "road built" itself into a
      nation of home-owning suburbanites. In the words of Joni Mitchell:
      "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Cities such as Los
      Angeles, Dallas and Phoenix were moulded by the private passenger car
      into vast urban sprawls which are so widely spread that it is now
      almost impossible to service them economically with public transport.

      As the cities sprawled, the motor manufacturing industry consolidated.
      Car-making is now the main industrial employer in the world, dominated
      by five major groups of which General Motors is the largest. The
      livelihood and landscape of North Americans were forged by car-makers.

      Motor vehicles are responsible for about one-third of global oil use,
      but for nearly two-thirds of US oil use. In the rest of the world,
      heating and power generation account for most oil use. The increase in
      oil prices during the 1973 Arab oil embargo encouraged the
      substitution of other fuels in heating and power generation, but in
      the transport sector there is little scope for oil substitution in the
      short term.

      Due to artificially low oil and gasoline prices that did not reflect
      the true social costs of production and use, there was little
      incentive to seek alternative energy sources. The Arab oil embargo
      temporarily stimulated greater fuel efficiency with the introduction
      of gasoline consumption standards, but the increasing popularity of
      gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles over the past decade has
      substantially reduced the average fuel efficiency of the US car fleet.

      The US transportation sector is almost totally dependent on oil, and
      supplies are running out. It is estimated that the total amount of oil
      that can be pumped out of the earth is about 2,000 billion barrels and
      that world oil production will peak in the next 10 to 15 years. Since
      even modest reductions in oil production can result in major hikes in
      the cost of gasoline, the US administration is well aware of the
      importance of ensuring oil supplies. Every major oil price shock of
      the past 30 years was followed by a US recession and every major
      recession was preceded by an oil price shock.

      In 1997, the Carnegie commission on preventing deadly conflict
      identified factors that put states at risk. They include rapid
      population changes that outstrip the capacity of the state to provide
      essential services, and the control of valuable natural resources by a
      single group. Both factors are key motivators in the war with
      Iraq. Sprawling suburban America needs oil and Saddam Hussein is
      sitting on it.

      The US economy needs oil like a junkie needs heroin and Iraq has 112
      billion barrels, the largest supply in the world outside Saudi
      Arabia. Even before the first shot has been fired, there have been
      discussions about how Iraq's oil reserves will be carved up. All five
      permanent members of the UN security council have international oil
      companies that have an interest in "regime change" in Baghdad.

      Car dependence is a global public health issue of which gasoline wars
      are only one facet. Every day about 3,000 people die and 30,000 people
      are seriously injured on the world's roads in traffic crashes. More
      than 85% of the deaths are in low and middle-income countries, with
      pedestrians, cyclists and bus passengers bearing most of the
      burden. Most of the victims will never own a car, and many are
      children.

      By 2020, road crashes will have moved from ninth to third place in the
      world ranking of the burden of disease and injury, and will be in
      second place in developing countries. That we accept this carnage as
      the collateral damage in a car-based transport system indicates the
      strength and pervasiveness of car dependency. Moreover, car travel has
      reduced our walking. One-quarter of all car journeys are less than two
      miles. A 3km walk uses up about half the energy in a small bar of
      chocolate. The same distance by car expends 10 times as much energy
      but from the wrong source. We can make chocolate but oil reserves are
      finite.

      Car use and the corresponding decline in physical activity is an
      important cause of the obesity epidemic in the US and UK, and physical
      inactivity increases the risks of heart disease, diabetes,
      osteoporosis and hypertension. Car-based shopping has turned many
      small towns into ghost towns and has severed the supportive social
      networks of community interaction.

      The first gasoline war was waged in Kuwait and the second will be
      waged in Iraq. The world must act now to prevent the third. On the
      brink of war with Iraq, Tony Blair is playing the role of tough world
      leader. But transport, not Iraq, is the truly tough issue. His deputy,
      John Prescott, tried and failed to deal with car dependency and now
      the government is in policy retreat. Ken Livingstone, who does not own
      a car and has leadership qualities that Blair lacks, may with
      congestion charging succeed where others have failed, but his enemies
      have the support of powerful lobby groups.

      Those who oppose war in Iraq must work together to prevent the
      conflicts that will follow if we fail to tackle car dependency. We
      must reclaim the streets, promote walking and cycling, strengthen
      public transport, oppose new road construction and pay the full social
      cost of car use. We must argue for land-use policies that reduce the
      need for car travel. We need "urban villages" clustered around public
      transport nodes, not sprawling car-dependent conurbations. We can all
      play our part and we must act now.



      Ian Roberts is professor of public health at the London School of
      Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

      ian.roberts@...








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    • rhys rowland
      Greetings all, I never had reason to sound out about any information I have previously recieved from this group, but this e-mail struck home. Touche Irvin! I
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 23, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        Greetings all,

        I never had reason to sound out about any information I have previously
        recieved from this group, but this e-mail struck home. Touche Irvin! I
        applaud you for sending out this type of message and strongly, in fact,
        passionately support the information presented.

        While I no longer live in the Bay Area, I was constantly for years road my
        bicycle to and from my destinations in a car dominated urban environment. I
        was constantly amazed at how little forethought people appear to put into
        the consequences and impacts for the privilage and convenience of "jumping
        into their cars" to go someplace. Not only that but many people would look
        down upon you because you chose to ride a bike rather than drive a car just
        like everybody else.

        It is not mentioned in the article below, but also figuring into accurate
        cost accounting for the privilage of driving should also be increased
        alienation from one another and ill health effects regarding lung function
        and lung disease. It is a shameful display of corporate greed and basic
        public ignorance to know that while the same issues existed as presented
        below were true for this country in the 1970's, we did practically nothing
        to change our habits to reduce our dependancy upon oil.

        While it is a shameful record, we have a chance to correct our present
        course despite our Federal Administrations reckless and shamefully typical
        approach towards energy policies and global diplomacy. As planners, we can
        do our part locally in our role to help guide development taking into
        consideration a very generalist point of view. I urge you to take stock of
        the general plans of your respective cities and implement the policies to
        the fullest degree possible. This means to not ignore TOD and green
        building principles, solar orientation, how vacant fields are disked or
        graded, and a litany of other issues that cumulatively impact our world.

        Use these policies as tools to explain and convince developers to do better
        and to be more considerate to their communities. Too often good language is
        developed within GP's and then ignored when it comes to establishing GP
        consistency with land use and development.

        Outside the planning realm as a regular citizen, there are organizations you
        can join to perform e-advocacy. These groups help provide ways in which you
        can join in the effort to lobby and persuade our legislators in Capital
        Hill. The processes are easy if you have not already done so, I encourage
        you to check them out. Below are listed several groups that perform this of
        function to help you be involved to help fight for a better America and a
        better world!

        Global Exchange: unitedforpeace.org
        American Friends Service Committee: www.afsc.org
        Moveon.org
        Truemajority.org
        Peace Pledge: www.peacepledge.org/resist/

        Thank you for listening and best wishes to you all!

        Sincerely,

        Rhys Rowland




        >From: "irvin dawid" <irvindawid@...>
        >Reply-To: SJSU_MURPs@yahoogroups.com
        >To: SJSU_MURPs@yahoogroups.com
        >CC: lrosenth@...
        >Subject: [SJSU_MURPs] Opinion: US suburban design makes gasoline war
        >inevitable
        >Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 23:10:53 +0000
        >
        >Classmates and friends,
        >I couldn't resist...
        >Urban Planning, and a possible war in Iraq...
        >Hope you find it as interesting as I did,
        >Irv
        >
        >
        >
        >----Original Message Follows----
        >
        >
        >Subject: Opinion: US suburban design makes gasoline war inevitable
        >
        >Published Saturday, January 18, 2003, in The Guardian
        >
        >Car wars
        >
        >The US economy needs oil like a junkie needs heroin - and Iraq will
        >supply its next fix
        >
        >Ian Roberts
        >
        >War in Iraq is inevitable. That there would be war was decided by
        >North American planners in the mid-1920s. That it would be in Iraq was
        >decided much more recently. The architects of this war were not
        >military planners but town planners. War is inevitable not because of
        >weapons of mass destruction, as claimed by the political right, nor
        >because of western imperialism, as claimed by the left. The cause of
        >this war, and probably the one that will follow, is car dependence.
        >
        >The US has paved itself into a corner. Its physical and economic
        >infrastructure is so highly car dependent that the US is
        >pathologically addicted to oil. Without billions of barrels of
        >precious black sludge being pumped into the veins of its economy every
        >year, the nation would experience painful and damaging withdrawal.
        >
        >The first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line in 1908 and was a
        >miracle of mass production. In the first decade of that century, car
        >registrations in the US increased from 8,000 to almost 500,000. Within
        >the cities, buses replaced trams, and then cars replaced buses. In
        >1932, General Motors bought up America's tramways and then closed them
        >down. But it was the urban planners who really got America hooked. Car
        >ownership offered the possibility of escape from dirty, crowded cities
        >to leafy garden suburbs and the urban planners provided the escape
        >routes.
        >
        >Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, America "road built" itself into a
        >nation of home-owning suburbanites. In the words of Joni Mitchell:
        >"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Cities such as Los
        >Angeles, Dallas and Phoenix were moulded by the private passenger car
        >into vast urban sprawls which are so widely spread that it is now
        >almost impossible to service them economically with public transport.
        >
        >As the cities sprawled, the motor manufacturing industry consolidated.
        >Car-making is now the main industrial employer in the world, dominated
        >by five major groups of which General Motors is the largest. The
        >livelihood and landscape of North Americans were forged by car-makers.
        >
        >Motor vehicles are responsible for about one-third of global oil use,
        >but for nearly two-thirds of US oil use. In the rest of the world,
        >heating and power generation account for most oil use. The increase in
        >oil prices during the 1973 Arab oil embargo encouraged the
        >substitution of other fuels in heating and power generation, but in
        >the transport sector there is little scope for oil substitution in the
        >short term.
        >
        >Due to artificially low oil and gasoline prices that did not reflect
        >the true social costs of production and use, there was little
        >incentive to seek alternative energy sources. The Arab oil embargo
        >temporarily stimulated greater fuel efficiency with the introduction
        >of gasoline consumption standards, but the increasing popularity of
        >gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles over the past decade has
        >substantially reduced the average fuel efficiency of the US car fleet.
        >
        >The US transportation sector is almost totally dependent on oil, and
        >supplies are running out. It is estimated that the total amount of oil
        >that can be pumped out of the earth is about 2,000 billion barrels and
        >that world oil production will peak in the next 10 to 15 years. Since
        >even modest reductions in oil production can result in major hikes in
        >the cost of gasoline, the US administration is well aware of the
        >importance of ensuring oil supplies. Every major oil price shock of
        >the past 30 years was followed by a US recession and every major
        >recession was preceded by an oil price shock.
        >
        >In 1997, the Carnegie commission on preventing deadly conflict
        >identified factors that put states at risk. They include rapid
        >population changes that outstrip the capacity of the state to provide
        >essential services, and the control of valuable natural resources by a
        >single group. Both factors are key motivators in the war with
        >Iraq. Sprawling suburban America needs oil and Saddam Hussein is
        >sitting on it.
        >
        >The US economy needs oil like a junkie needs heroin and Iraq has 112
        >billion barrels, the largest supply in the world outside Saudi
        >Arabia. Even before the first shot has been fired, there have been
        >discussions about how Iraq's oil reserves will be carved up. All five
        >permanent members of the UN security council have international oil
        >companies that have an interest in "regime change" in Baghdad.
        >
        >Car dependence is a global public health issue of which gasoline wars
        >are only one facet. Every day about 3,000 people die and 30,000 people
        >are seriously injured on the world's roads in traffic crashes. More
        >than 85% of the deaths are in low and middle-income countries, with
        >pedestrians, cyclists and bus passengers bearing most of the
        >burden. Most of the victims will never own a car, and many are
        >children.
        >
        >By 2020, road crashes will have moved from ninth to third place in the
        >world ranking of the burden of disease and injury, and will be in
        >second place in developing countries. That we accept this carnage as
        >the collateral damage in a car-based transport system indicates the
        >strength and pervasiveness of car dependency. Moreover, car travel has
        >reduced our walking. One-quarter of all car journeys are less than two
        >miles. A 3km walk uses up about half the energy in a small bar of
        >chocolate. The same distance by car expends 10 times as much energy
        >but from the wrong source. We can make chocolate but oil reserves are
        >finite.
        >
        >Car use and the corresponding decline in physical activity is an
        >important cause of the obesity epidemic in the US and UK, and physical
        >inactivity increases the risks of heart disease, diabetes,
        >osteoporosis and hypertension. Car-based shopping has turned many
        >small towns into ghost towns and has severed the supportive social
        >networks of community interaction.
        >
        >The first gasoline war was waged in Kuwait and the second will be
        >waged in Iraq. The world must act now to prevent the third. On the
        >brink of war with Iraq, Tony Blair is playing the role of tough world
        >leader. But transport, not Iraq, is the truly tough issue. His deputy,
        >John Prescott, tried and failed to deal with car dependency and now
        >the government is in policy retreat. Ken Livingstone, who does not own
        >a car and has leadership qualities that Blair lacks, may with
        >congestion charging succeed where others have failed, but his enemies
        >have the support of powerful lobby groups.
        >
        >Those who oppose war in Iraq must work together to prevent the
        >conflicts that will follow if we fail to tackle car dependency. We
        >must reclaim the streets, promote walking and cycling, strengthen
        >public transport, oppose new road construction and pay the full social
        >cost of car use. We must argue for land-use policies that reduce the
        >need for car travel. We need "urban villages" clustered around public
        >transport nodes, not sprawling car-dependent conurbations. We can all
        >play our part and we must act now.
        >
        >
        >
        >Ian Roberts is professor of public health at the London School of
        >Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
        >
        >ian.roberts@...
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >_________________________________________________________________
        >MSN 8 helps eliminate e-mail viruses. Get 2 months FREE*.
        >http://join.msn.com/?page=features/virus
        >


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