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  • dougleonardi
    A friend is doing a paper on the relative energy use, pollution, and general sustainability of an urban lifestyle vs suburban or rural ones. I ve provided her
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 1, 2006
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      A friend is doing a paper on the relative energy use, pollution, and
      general sustainability of an urban lifestyle vs suburban or rural ones.
      I've provided her a number of articles to cite and some web resources,
      but very few seem to have quantifiable comparisons.

      Does anyone know of any reliable and concrete sources of information on
      how a truly dense urban lifestyle impacts one's carbon footprint?

    • Jeff Buderer
      Doug this is a important question. A good place to go do is http://www.footprintnetwork.org site. I am sure there are many resources on this but I know of very
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 3, 2006
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        Doug this is a important question.

        A good place to go do is http://www.footprintnetwork.org site.

        I am sure there are many resources on this but I know of very little done regarding your specific question about urban lifestyle.

        I would like to see the Cosanti Foundation and/or some members of this group (which has not to my knowledge done this) engaged with each other to develop a working group or alliance to work with interested NGOs to develop a compelling rationale for more dense development based on a comprehensive research approach. From this research could emerge a compelling proposal to actually fund such an initial project which would start very small as a test bed for larger more ambitious Arcologies.

        While I was at Arcosanti we did at one time engage in communcations with RMI http://www.rmi.org and they seemed interested but wanted to work with us for a fee to develop a feasibility study for Arcosanti or a Arcology type development.

        At the Califia Open Design Summit in SF that Cosanti Foundation boardmember and Green Century Institute http://www.greencenturyinstitute.org founder Michael Gosney put together and I helped organize, we discussed not so much the issue of a "truly dense urban lifestyle" but the resulting social, economic and cultural synergies that might result from a integrated appoach to human development.

        A sustainable built environment must consider the human aspect of the development and not just the statistical logic of hight density development, keeping in mind that it was the cultural and social unsustainability of the hyper dense built enviornment of the turn of the 20th century American city that led to the impulse to suburbanize that was led or pioneered ironically enough by Soleri's mentor Frank Lloyd Wright by his work on "Broad Acre City". So the design of the built environment needs to consider the authentic needs of the people to both have the urban effect and the "rural effect" in the city as well. Without that more thoughtful hydridization/combination of urban and rural attributes, any movement towards the redevelopment or reorientation of humanity towards a more dense way of living will lead to similar resistence as mentioned above.

        These include:

        Rural characteristics:
        • Authentic Community Feel - the problem with development was and is not only because of its density but the case of authentic concern by the developers and designers and planners for the people that actually live in human habitats.
        • Open Space and Natural Corridors - Eco-Psychology tells us that modern agnst and urban agnst in particular is primarily due to the isolation of the people from the cycle of nature. More natural systems intact within urban environments will have a dramatic impact in making cities more liveable.
        • Integrated Urban Farming and Waste Management - The agricultural component of a sustainable ecocity should engage the community (so that people know where their food comes from) and on a practical level provide for a signficant portion of energy, fuel and even possibly in some cases building materials as part of a integrated farming and waste management model that significant reduces urban draw on rural resources. Urban regions to be sustainable must relocalize their means of production to seriously reduce the ecofootprint of that particular area (acres of lands to sustain cities)
        Urban Characteristics:
        • Proximity to Culture - the idea is that people dont have to travel to experience the culture it is all around them - this is what I think of when I consider what Paolo really means when talks about an urban effect.
        • Proximity to Shopping - the idea that one does not have to get into ones car to get the things they need for living is significant.
        • Dissimination of Ideas and Culture Trends - the city is magnet for innovation. Typically people have fled provincial areas to get away from cultural, social and political conservatism which they felt stifled their ability to think and act freely and innovate as human beings. Interestingly the real trend in the contemporary American politics is not red state blue state but Red Rural American and Blue Urban America with Suburbia as the swing independent vote. Of course this is nothing but has in fact been the pattern since probably the start of civilization itself.
        One more thing in Manhattan - we see that higher density does not necessarily mean sustainability - so it is the civic orientation of the people that is just if not more important than the design of the city itself. The people in the Arcology or urban sustainable development need to be committed to sustainability and believe in it passionately.


        A friend is doing a paper on the relative energy use, pollution, and
        general sustainability of an urban lifestyle vs suburban or rural ones.
        I've provided her a number of articles to cite and some web resources,
        but very few seem to have quantifiable comparisons.

        Does anyone know of any reliable and concrete sources of information on
        how a truly dense urban lifestyle impacts one's carbon footprint?

      • urbankit1
        ... A visionary study was conducted by the Intitute for alternative Futures. I pasted it all underneath because you could not find it in the net. It has a lot
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 1, 2007
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          --- In arcology@yahoogroups.com, "dougleonardi" <dleonardi@...>
          A visionary study was conducted by the Intitute for alternative
          Futures. I pasted it all underneath because you could not find it in
          the net. It has a lot to do with cost of urbal sprawl.
          I do not know if anybody before has mentioned this study, but I
          think it of crucial importance.

          Boris Papanikolaou

          Mobility for the 21st Century
          A Blueprint for the Future
          prepared for the American Public Transit Association
          by the American Public Transit Association's
          Mobility for the 21st Century Task Force
          and Robert L. Olson, Institute for Alternative Futures
          October 1996

          Mobility for the 21st Century
          Inspiring possibilities are emerging for expanding our nation's
          mobility options in the 21st century and creating livable
          communities and sustainable patterns of development. Pursuing these
          positive possibilities can head off many of the problems associated
          with current urban development patterns. The American Public Transit
          Association (APTA) created the Task Force on Mobility in the 21st
          Century (M21) to explore both positive opportunities and dangers
          The M21 Task Force used two tools for thinking systematically about
          how transportation and urban development could evolve in the 21st
          century. The first tool is a set of four scenariosof how the future
          might turn out by 2050 -- as far into the future as we are from
          World War II when existing patterns of transportation and urban
          development first became dominant. These scenarios explore a wide
          range of "plausible futures" for urban development in general and
          transportation in particular. The future is highly uncertain, but it
          will probably fall somewhere within the possibilities that these
          scenarios explore. The four M21 scenarios are:
          Boundless Sprawl-- Low-density automobile-dominant development
          continues and the information superhighway spreads everywhere. The
          U.S. stays at the top of the global competitive ladder and avoids
          catastrophes, but central cities decline and many problems worsen.
          Dying Cities-- Problems caused by pursuing low-density development
          contribute to a slow slide into economic paralysis and social
          decline. Central cities are racked with poverty and crime.
          Environmental and economic decline feed on each other in a downward
          Community-Oriented Growth--Growth is not limited, but it takes on
          more community-oriented patterns. Development increasingly occurs in
          the form of infill and mixed-use, pedestrian-scale communities
          centered on transit stations. This strengthens community, expands
          housing and mobility options, and preserves open space.
          Reinventing the City-- The "push" of severe problems and the "pull"
          of an emerging vision of sustainable development create a new urban
          pattern in which nearly every location can be reached conveniently
          by transit. Nearly all development occurs within urban growth
          boundaries surrounded by greenbelts.
          The second tool employed by the M21 Task Force was a process of
          vision developmentthat led to a vision statement which describes
          the "preferred future" of Task Force members. APTA will use this
          vision to help guide and motivate its actions. We hope it will be
          useful to others as well, as people from every area of society come
          to understand the importance of learning together how to shape a
          sustainable future.
          This report sets out the M21 Task Force's analysis of problemsof
          urban development,its four scenariosof how today's problems and
          possibilities could unfold in the future, and its vision of mobility
          and urban development in the 21st century. A companion report,
          Strategic Goals for the 21st Century, sets out specific goals
          derived from the vision and actions to achieve the goals.
          Problems of Urban Development
          Since World War II, our nation's urban development has been guided
          by a dominant vision of how metropolitan areas should grow. It is
          commonly described as low density development, suburbanization, or
          urban sprawl. This development pattern made an attractive new way of
          life available for millions of people. It offered home ownership,
          modern schools, responsive local government, and an uncrowded
          environment of clean air and green lawns. It offered unprecedented
          mobility based on widespread autom obile ownership and a rapidly
          expanding system of interstate highways and urban expressways. This
          vision of personal and social progress became a part of
          the "American dream."
          There is no question that this post-war vision of urban expansion
          contributed to an unprecedented surge of economic growth that
          brought the majority of our nation's population into the middle
          class. However, the achievement of this vision over the past fifty
          years has produced unanticipated problems that at first seemed to be
          manageable "side effects" of growth, but that now loom as serious
          threats to our nation's long-term success. All of the problems
          listed below are directly related to urba n sprawl.
          Costs for maintaining the far-flung highway, sewer and other
          infrastructure systems needed to support low-density sprawl are
          soaring, and will continue to escalate as the infrastructures age.
          While the infrastructure to support new development on the urban
          fringe is becoming enormously expensive to build and maintain over
          the long run, we continue to leave underutilized infrastructure
          behind and build on the fringe because the short-term costs of doing
          so are low for both businesses and home buyers. If this continues,
          our children and grandchildren will face potentially crippling
          In the areas where sprawl is worst, costs to business are becoming
          significant. By reducing the quality of life, sprawl makes areas
          less desirable for potential employees and customers. By increasing
          resistance to further suburban development, sprawl makes it
          difficult for businesses to expand or relocate. By requiring longer,
          more stressful commutes and making it more difficult for many people
          to get to where new jobs are, sprawl leads to higher labor costs and
          lower worker productivity.
          Areas of low-density sprawl provide little low- or even moderate-
          income housing. As a result, low-income people are concentrated in
          the cheapest, most deteriorating housing at the centers of cities.
          Often they are without automobiles or adequate transit links to
          reach suburban areas where new jobs are being created. This
          concentration of poverty and isolation from jobs is a major cause of
          inner city unemployment, crime, school breakdown and other social
          Low-density sprawl requires extensive automobile driving to achieve
          necessary levels of access. Even the most minor activities such as
          mailing a letter or buying a loaf of bread often require a car.
          Dependency on automobiles severely restricts the mobility of people
          who cannot operate them, including many young people, the elderly,
          and people with disabilities.
          Dependency on automobiles takes a high toll in unintentional
          injuries. Over 40,000 persons are killed and another 5 million are
          injured each year in traffic accidents at a cost to the nation's
          economy of far over $100 billion.
          Peak hour traffic congestion is worsening, especially in the
          suburbs, exacting an economic toll in lost time and productivity.
          Sprawl is swallowing open space, encroaching on environmentally
          sensitive areas, and damaging the viability of large ecosystems.
          Sprawl is causing a permanent loss of prime agricultural land and in
          the process devastating many farm communities. The prospect of
          eventually selling out to a developer reduces incentives to many
          farmers to make long-term capital investments or adopt methods of
          sustainable agriculture that would build soil quality over the long
          run. Sprawl-induced ozone pollution can reduce crop yields by as
          much as 30 percent.
          Travel in single occupancy vehicles is the greatest contributor to
          urban air pollution, which poses health risks for millions of
          people. It is also the single largest factor in the buildup of
          greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which risks causing climate
          changes and global warming.
          Excessive oil consumption, over half of which is used by
          automobiles, makes the U.S. vulnerable to cutoffs by foreign
          suppliers and makes oil imports the biggest item in our foreign
          trade deficit.
          Our society is undergoing a profound disintegration of community
          life. One of the most important developments weakening our sense of
          community is the loss of the human scale in the physical environment
          as development is geared more toward automobiles, roads and parking
          spaces than toward walkable communities where neighbors can meet and
          Our dominant vision of low-density development contains no agreed on
          means for resolving conflicts between the welfare of the
          metropolitan area as a whole and the welfare of its many parts.
          Government decision making powers related to land use and
          development are divided among scores of local governments, each
          working in isolation from the others. As a result, it is extremely
          difficult to find a politically acceptable way of bounding or
          channeling growth, siting needed but locally undesirable land u ses,
          or financing new infrastructure fairly.
          These issues are all recognized as serious. Efforts to ameliorate
          many of them by technological fixes and social expenditures have
          been underway for some time, with only limited success. In the past,
          each of these issues usually has been treated as a separate,
          individual problem. Now, however, there is a growing recognition
          that all these individual issues comprise a "syndrome" of interwoven
          problems generated by our pursuit of a particular vision of how
          growth ought to occur. This interc onnected "problem of problems,"
          is one of the greatest threats to our nation's economic
          productivity, environmental sustainability, and social well being.
          We cannot solve these problems and shape our nation's future
          successfully unless we invent new patterns of urban development
          superior to urban sprawl.
          Sustainable Development: A New Vision of the Future
          Fortunately, there is a growing recognition that low-density
          development has shifted from being an engine of growth and progress
          to an economic burden and a threat to the quality of our lives. At
          the same time, a new concept of sustainable development is emerging
          which promises to avoid rather than simply ameliorate many of the
          problems that endanger our future.
          The UN's World Commission on Environment and Development defined
          sustainable development in terms of an intergenerational Golden
          Rule: we must learn to meet "the needs of the present without
          compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
          needs." James MacNeill, who served as the Commission's director,
          stresses that the challenge of sustainable development "is largely
          an urban challenge, given the dominant place of urban areas in
          population distribution... and in the prod uction and consumption of
          Sustainable development breaks out of conventional polarities and
          left vs. right debates. It is not a call for limiting development,
          but a call to be smarter about how we develop so that the result is
          real, qualitative improvement. It does not elevate environmental
          protection over economic well-being. Instead it emphasizes the
          importance of finding more appropriate development patterns and
          technologies that will work over the long run because they
          simultaneously improve the economy, the environment, and the lives
          of people at all income levels. Its concepts are being embraced by
          politicians on both the right (with the movement toward more
          consumption-oriented taxation) and the left (with the focus on
          environmentally sound economic policies).
          Ideas about how to make development more sustainable are being
          generated and applied at every level, from the UN and national
          governments to corporate R&D on new technologies to local community
          efforts. On the urban and regional scale, the result is a new vision
          of how metropolitan areas should grow. While this vision is not yet
          fully developed, many of its outlines are already clear. It involves
          a deliberate shift away from low-density sprawl toward more compact,
          efficient, and community-centered d evelopment patterns. Automobiles
          would still be an important means of transportation in this new
          development pattern, but over time people would become less
          dependent on automobiles. Both fringe and infill development would
          be designed for ease of walking and bicycling, and easy access to
          public transit. Expanded transit systems would connect centers of
          development with each other and with the older urban area. Transit
          would provide the infrastructure backbone for a new urban form in
          which metropolitan area s become networks of human-scale
          Scenarios and Vision: Dealing with Uncertainty
          Today's dominant vision of low-density sprawl is deeply embedded in
          our mindsets, institutional arrangements, regulations, policies,
          practices and investments in existing infrastructure. Changing that
          vision will be neither easy nor quick -- but that change is
          inevitable because present trends in urban development and
          transportation are not sustainable over the long run.
          As a result, we are confronted by true uncertainty-- that is, we
          really do not know what will happen. Enormous changes away from the
          trends of the past are virtually certain, but we do not know when
          they will occur, how serious our problems will become before they
          occur, or how difficult the transition will be. Standard technical
          methods for extrapolating trends and forecasting needs become highly
          unreliable and potentially misleading in the face of such deep
          Scenarios and vision development are among the most powerful tools
          available for thinking about the uncertainties of the future.
          Scenarios are "futures for the head" -- compilations of trends and
          potential developments which stretch our imaginations and help us
          think systematically about possible future threats and
          opportunities. Visions are "futures for the heart" - images of the
          preferred future intended to touch us and move us to action.
          The Mobility 21 Scenarios that follow can be used as a lens for
          expanding personal awareness of possibilities ahead. They can also
          be used by communities to stimulate public discussion, and by
          transportation planners for initial exercises in transportation
          planning projects.
          The greatest value of looking at the world through these scenarios
          is that they will make you more aware of your own assumptions, which
          will be highlighted in contrast to other plausible assumptions in
          different scenarios. Instead of operating with a single implicit
          image of where things are probably going, the scenarios will allow
          you to "try on" alternative patterns of interpretation. This will
          expand the range of things to which you pay attention. You will find
          yourself reviewing the news a nd personal experience in a new way as
          you consider whether events appear to be moving toward one scenario
          or another. You will see opportunities and threats that you never
          noticed before because they were outside your "field of view." If
          the range of scenarios developed by the M21 Task Force is
          dissatisfying to you, you will be challenged to think through what
          other scenarios are plausible.
          Thinking in terms of scenarios will also made you acutely aware that
          there is no single, certain future out there -- that there are many
          possibilities -- and that what happens tomorrow will be shaped by
          today's choices and actions. In situations of high uncertainty, the
          best way to "forecast" the future is often to envision a better
          future and work to create it.
          The following Vision of Mobility in the 21st Century is the M21 Task
          Force's effort to imagine possibilities of a kind of 21st century
          future far superior to our own. The Task Force hopes that it will
          inspire others to clarify their own views of the preferred future.
          The 21st century will be better if we move into it pursuing our
          visions and aspirations rather than simply reacting to problems.
          The M21 Scenarios
          Scenario 1: Boundless Sprawl
          The post-World War II vision of metropolitan growth has played
          itself out in 2050, as low-density development and the automobile
          defined 100 years of American society. Suburbs and exurbs have
          become the cultural and economic backbone of the nation, while
          central cities, in the face of plunging tax bases and swelling
          social burdens, have lost most of their political and economic
          relevance. The nation managed to stave off catastrophes such as
          extended recessions, political gridlock, massive envi ronmental
          degradation, and social disharmony. Yet, a disconcerting level of
          public apathy, unresolved class and racial tensions, and "growing
          pains" foster undeniable and widespread feelings of malaise in many
          By 2015, the information superhighway became the primary way people
          communicated, conducted business and entertained themselves.
          Intelligent networks reaching into every business and home triggered
          an explosion of entrepreneurship and, to a large extent,
          decentralized political and economic control. Combined with new
          energy sources, "mass customization" in manufacturing through agile
          factories, and the successful "capture" of global market share by
          U.S. companies, the U.S. maintained its perch at the top of the
          competitive ladder.
          Yet, these very successes helped mask pressing domestic social
          inequities and allowed many communities to avoid tough decisions
          about their future. Despite continuing economic growth, government
          spending has been sharply constrained by costs for health care,
          mobility, social security and debt repayment. Society leaned
          heavily, and often successfully, on technological innovation as a
          buffer to social and economic crises. On-line shopping, banking, and
          medical delivery -- coupled with the "comfortiza tion" of the home
          and cars, low density development, and extended forays into virtual
          reality -- led to a gradual withdrawal from "geographic" community
          Over time, this created what social historians termed "the
          responsibility gap," where the nature of how individuals connected
          to the broader society conspired to routinely place personal well-
          being over that of one's neighbors and communities. As a result,
          longer-term solutions were eschewed in favor of quicker, less
          painful band-aids, and festering class, racial, ethnic and other
          social tensions were left to percolate just below public
          consciousness. In 2050, when people talk about their &quo
          t;community," they are usually referring to their on-line friends
          and associates, and not their neighbors or towns.
          Responding to public sentiment, local governments have continued to
          encourage mainly low-density housing, setting stringent limits on
          the construction of new multifamily units. Detached single-family
          homes on spacious lots are the dominant housing type, and most
          people travel in single-occupancy automotive vehicles, chasing jobs
          that are widely scattered among the suburbs. The middle class and
          affluent have populated the thriving exurbs, traveling into the
          suburbs for jobs and the city for occasional cu ltural events.
          Growing numbers of people have migrated out of metropolitan areas
          altogether, using the information superhighway to "commute" to work.
          As a result, prime agricultural land, open space, and
          environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, river basins,
          forests, and the habitats of endangered species have been
          disappearing rapidly over the past five decades.
          Because areas of new low-density growth provided little low- or even
          moderate-income housing, low-income people remain concentrated in
          the cheapest, most deteriorated housing at the centers of cities.
          Without automobiles or adequate transit links to reach the suburbs
          where new jobs are being created, inner city residents continue to
          have high rates of unemployment. And, despite some success in
          reducing welfare dependency, young people still find it difficult to
          escape from the grip of poverty. Low quali ty schools and decimated
          public services deterred any significant new development and
          redevelopment in the city cores, even with the periodic offering of
          tax incentives to encourage residential and commercial renovation.
          Air pollution worsened in many urban areas until after 2010, when
          low- and zero-emission vehicles began to offset growing auto use.
          Despite a stabilization of pollution problems, average vehicle miles
          traveled per household keeps increasing and peak-hour traffic
          congestion continues to cause headaches. But intelligent
          transportation systems, better highway system management and new
          highway construction have prevented gridlock.
          Alternative fuels, improved engines, hybrid fuel-electric vehicles,
          and zero-emission vehicles have replaced the inefficient and
          polluting vehicles that filled the roads of the early 2000s.
          Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) increased the capacity of
          highways, alleviating worsening traffic congestion on main routes.
          By 2035, ITS systems allowed close-spaced flotillas of cars to move
          along major highways at high speeds under automatic control,
          although slight interruptions sometimes caused consider able backups
          and delays. Information technology has had a neutral impact on
          travel demand, both inducing and substituting for travel.
          Modest advances in transit technology were overshadowed by the
          technical revolution in autos and highways. While the quality of
          transit service has held even in most areas, transit leaders are
          slow to recognize and respond to changing customer needs. Major
          initiatives to expand rail transit systems have been rare because
          transit is not cost-effective for predominately low-density housing
          and workplaces. Public transit marginally increased bus service from
          the inner city to suburbs and from suburbs to su burbs, but this
          service is relatively ineffective and heavily subsidized. Even
          though public transit holds on to roughly the same number of riders
          as it had in the late 1990s, its modal split is declining. The
          Golden Age of transit has clearly passed.
          For decades the public has balked at paying the costs of major
          expansions in transportation infrastructure, except for occasional
          technological upgrades when the economy was booming. The bulk of
          transportation spending has been devoted to maintaining the existing
          infrastructure in a state of good repair. The market still tends to
          spread negative externalities like congestion onto the public
          without discretion, marking a consistent failure to compel people
          whose behavior generates significant social cost s to pay for those
          costs directly. As a result, congestion pricing and other "true
          cost" pricing schemes continue to be resisted in most metropolitan
          Government leaders at all levels have committed to avoiding waste
          and assessing the cost-effectiveness of government activities,
          making major strides in reducing bureaucracy and red-tape. However,
          through sophisticated polling efforts, government leadership has
          learned to parrot the public and remains largely reactive, with
          continued pandering to special interests and an unwillingness to
          make difficult choices. Decentralized and local control of land use
          continues to make it extremely difficult to foste r development that
          reduces the need for travel.
          Despite improvements in coordination, transportation organizations
          remain compartmentalized and have great difficulty rationalizing the
          use of overlapping networks. Progress toward an integrated,
          multimodal national transportation system is slow, with some parts
          of the country significantly outpacing others. Transportation
          planning, land use planning, anti-poverty efforts and other areas of
          public policy are seldom integrated in a meaningful way.
          The U.S. vision of low density, automobile-dominated urban
          development is widely copied in other countries. Even European
          nations with dense cities and well developed transit systems move in
          this direction. China and other populous developing countries are
          experiencing enormous congestion problems as they reach for U.S.-
          style living and mobility patterns.
          Scenario 2: Dying Cities
          The last fifty years have been characterized by a slow slide into
          economic paralysis and social decline. Many of the nation's cities,
          especially their cores, are racked with crime, violence and poverty,
          while the more affluent shelter themselves walled communities in
          distant exurbs guarded by elaborate security measures like
          cyberdogs. The nation is defined increasingly by its broken
          families, drug abuse, apathy, and loathing of institutions. Gangs
          and criminals literally control and run some parts of major cities,
          overwhelming traditional policing and governance structures. A
          stagnant economy is exacerbated by regional transportation
          bottlenecks and a crumbling physical infrastructure. Predominately
          single occupancy cars clog the roadways, and infrastructure
          deterioration makes four-wheel drive vehicles a necessity to
          traverse most inner city neighborhoods.
          A continuing preference for single family homes, single-occupancy
          vehicles, entertainment and services via the information
          superhighway, and local land use control led to two parallel
          conditions: massive congestion and even gridlock in places, and
          severe individual and family isolation from the "outside world." It
          is not uncommon for exurbians who have to commute to spend one
          quarter of their day working from their cars. The exceptions are
          those who can afford to use the private-subscription I ntelligent
          Transportation Systems that have proliferated predominately on the
          East and West coasts.
          People who can telework exclusively rarely leave their immediate
          neighborhoods and homes. Many teleworkers have moved to rural areas
          where an explosion of unplanned, ultra-low-density growth has
          produced an unprecedented loss of open land, forests, and wild flora
          and fauna. Between on-line services and virtual reality, few need to
          be away from their secure enclaves, and fewer still want to venture
          into the routine urban violence and crime portrayed on newscasts
          every night. This isolation has led to a t remendous sense of
          personal insecurity and callousness that have totally undermined
          responsibility to the larger community. Notions of volunteerism and
          community service have become passé.
          As welfare programs were dismantled in the late 1990s and early
          2000s, the poor remained trapped in inner cities without access to
          transportation to suburban jobs and with little hope to gain the
          skills necessary to keep employed. Inner cities became even more
          segregated by race and income level. Crime, broken families, drug
          abuse, mental illness, disability, children born out of wedlock,
          gang membership and other problems worsened. The middle class and
          businesses fled for exurbia as violent riots and p rotests became
          In 2050, the predominant economic activity in inner cities stems
          from the illegal drug trade, the sale of weapons, and prostitution,
          where a post-modern Mafia composed primarily of former gang members
          and criminals has created sub- economies and societies in some of
          the major inner city areas. The only significant development and job
          growth in these areas in the last two decades came from investment
          in an increasingly sophisticated distribution infrastructure to
          support these budding illicit enterprises . While some people grew
          richer, many more people fell out of the middle class into poverty.
          These "new poor" also concentrate in inner cities and deteriorating
          inner suburbs, further increasing segregation.
          Environmental deterioration and economic decline fed on each other
          in a downward spiral. Pollution and the loss of environmentally
          sensitive areas have increasingly undermined economically valuable
          functions performed by ecosystems such as water retention, waste
          purification, and fishery productivity. Health-related costs of
          urban air pollution soared, while the climate became increasingly
          unstable as vehicle emissions contributed to a doubling of
          atmospheric carbon dioxide. Economic constraints stopped large-scale
          introduction of low- and zero-emission vehicles and prevented the
          widespread deployment of publicly-funded ITS systems. Information
          and communication systems allowed exurban telework to thrive, but
          they actually induce more travel and worsen traffic congestion.
          Tight government budgets have stymied efforts to fully maintain the
          existing transportation infrastructure. With rare exceptions, public
          highway and transit expansion became economically untenable.
          Strategies to raise revenue like congestion pricing and other market-
          based measures met universal rejection, labeled as unfair to low-
          income drivers and an unwelcome financial burden on all. Some parts
          of the system have simply been abandoned because their maintenance
          and repair costs were astronomical, a fo rm of transportation triage
          that continues to alienate inner city residents and encourage the
          exodus of more affluent citizens and businesses from the city.
          Government officials are reactive and crisis-oriented, with Federal
          leadership, in particular, lacking credibility. Old-line special
          interests have clung to power, slowing technological and social
          change, while citizens have decreasing control of decisions
          effecting their lives. Scapegoating, negative campaigning and
          demagogy have impaired the functioning of democratic institutions at
          all levels of government, and the private sector, for the most part,
          has abandoned any public concerns in the search for profits in the
          exurbs and internationally
          Transportation institutions are increasingly fragmented and
          contentious, fighting with each other for scarce resources. In a
          situation of increasing disarray, efforts to create an integrated,
          multimodal national transportation system were abandoned. There is
          almost no coordination between transportation and land use planning
          or other areas of public policy. Smart cards and related technology,
          once viewed as the key to cost-effective coordination and management
          of transportation systems, worked to a limi ted extent, but
          balkanized proprietary technologies led to massive costs and
          disconnects among U.S. public and private systems.
          Beyond minor improvements, no significant new transit technologies
          were developed. In 2050, public transit plays a very limited role,
          serving merely as a social service for have-nots. Nearly everyone
          who uses transit is a "no choice rider" with no other transportation
          alternatives. Over the years, transit has also served as a work-fare
          program for politicians to provide good-paying, low-skill jobs,
          which contributed to transit's inability to control costs. Both
          ridership and quality levels hav e declined in most areas, and many
          systems collapsed from underuse and zealous budget cutters. Transit
          leaders cling to a dwindling role, failing to connect transit with
          solutions to worsening national and global problems.
          Attempts to move to automobile-dominated low-density development in
          the most populous developing countries proved calamitous, as
          governments diverted investments from more productive uses to fight
          problems like urban air pollution. In China, urban sprawl
          significantly reduced the land area devoted to agriculture. As a
          result, China lost its independence in food production and has
          become a major food importer, driving up prices in global markets.
          Rising food prices contribute to malnutrition and famine i n poorer
          developing countries, and contribute to the global economic downturn
          in many developed nations.
          Scenario 3: Community-Oriented Growth
          A new common vision has emerged of how urban growth should occur.
          The new, widely accepted ideal is to find patterns of sustainable
          community development that will work over the long run because they
          benefit the economy, the environment, social equity, and personal
          quality of life -- all at the same time. The emerging pattern
          concentrates development into compact, pedestrian-scale communities
          centered around transit stations and linked with one another by the
          regional transit system. In this pattern of transit-oriented
          development (TOD), transit systems became a critical element in
          metropolitan planning and design.
          Many metropolitan areas have adopted urban growth boundaries and
          restricted public financing of most additional infrastructure to
          development within those boundaries. Some growth -- often 20 to 30
          percent -- continued to occur outside the boundaries, with
          infrastructure financed by private developers. Low density
          development has not been prohibited, and it continues both inside
          and outside the growth boundaries. Sprawl is limited, however,
          because strong market-based incentives as well as public infrast
          ructure expenditures are used to encourage a voluntary concentration
          of jobs in designated centers built around existing or new transit
          This transit-oriented development pattern places jobs, commercial
          areas, parks, civic uses and a substantial amount of housing within
          walking distance of transit stops. It provides a broad mix of
          housing types, densities, and costs that range from high-density
          housing at the middle to low-density detached homes around the
          edges. Unlike conventional suburbs, TODs do not segregate
          residential from retail, commercial and public spaces, but place
          them close together and intermixed. Public spaces are emphasi zed
          and made the focus of building orientation and neighborhood
          activity. The street layouts, building designs, and overall street
          planning maximize the ease and pleasure of pedestrian and bicycle
          movements rather than vehicular ones. These new communities take
          several forms including the construction of new centers, in-fill and
          redevelopment along transit corridors within existing neighborhoods,
          and residential in-fill of the commercial and office space
          dominated "edge city" areas that proliferat ed during the last
          quarter of the 20th century.
          The new vision of urban growth accommodates widely different living
          environments and lifestyles. Many people continue to prefer detached
          single family homes, single occupancy vehicles and a hierarchy of
          neighborhoods that separate middle- and upper-income families from
          low-income ones. However the proliferation of transit-oriented
          development expands choices among alternative modes of
          transportation and broadens the range of options of housing types
          and costs. The physical design of TODs creates a small town-
          like "sense of place" and greater interaction among neighbors,
          helping to revitalize community life, which proves highly attractive
          to many people. TODs offer a much wider range of housing cost
          options than conventional suburbs, so they develop with more
          diversity in income levels and social backgrounds. They also attract
          residents by making high quality schools as central a goal as access
          to transportation.
          As urban patterns changed, social divisions began to heal. The
          concentration of low-income people in inner cities slowly began to
          disperse as new jobs clustered near expanding supplies of low- and
          moderate-income housing. In some areas, governments acted to
          accelerate this dispersal by lowering regulatory barriers that
          increase housing costs (e.g., size standards for new housing) and
          requiring developers to include low-cost units in new and
          redevelopment areas.
          Improved mobility and a less sprawling, less costly, and more
          efficient infrastructure helped spur economic growth. New
          generations of environmentally advanced technology in every area of
          the economy boosted productivity, made U.S. products more
          competitive, and cut business expenditures for energy and materials,
          waste disposal, and environmental remediation. While traffic
          congestion worsened in most urban areas during the early decades of
          the 21st century, transit system expansion, changes i n land use and
          community design, transportation demand management, and market-based
          measures like congestion pricing have prevented highway gridlock and
          improved overall mobility.
          "Hypercar" technology -- light weight materials, hybrid fuel-
          electric propulsion, low emissions, and dramatic advances in fuel
          economy -- emerged rapidly at the turn of the century, providing a
          technological fix for urban air pollution, but not for congestion
          and other problems related to urban sprawl. ITS technology was
          deployed rapidly but selectively to relieve congestion without
          encouraging further sprawl, and Advanced Public Transportation
          Systems (APTS) applications of ITS such as locati on management and
          tracking systems were extensively developed. Technical improvements
          in transit vehicles rivaled those in road vehicles. Clean and
          efficient "superbuses," dual mode vehicles, exclusive way transit
          (busways), high speed rail, and other vehicle innovations came into
          widespread use. Personal rapid transit (PRT) was deployed in the
          redevelopment of "edge cities," in major transit centers, and as a
          feeder and distribution system for other transit.
          Telecommuting in many different forms grew steadily and reduced the
          demand for transportation. Rather than promoting a massive work-at-
          home movement with further low density sprawl, information
          technology had a wide variety of impacts including more off-peak
          commuting, more partial-work-at-home, more use of satellite business
          centers, and more office-to-office teleconferencing. Information
          technology was a key driver in [the continuing deconstruction of
          large corporations (downsizing, de-layering, decen tralizing,
          outsourcing),] the rise of dispersed "virtual corporations," and the
          proliferation of local small businesses.
          These technological developments, combined with changes in land use,
          produced a steady decline in automobile vehicle miles traveled after
          2015. Public transit expanded rapidly and began to increase its
          modal share after 2015, reinforcing and fostering new transit-
          oriented development patterns. A revolution occurred in transit
          service capabilities and customer satisfaction as routes expanded,
          quality improved, and transit providers customized their services to
          different customer groups and trip purposes. A revolution also
          occurred in system efficiency as transit became more
          entrepreneurial, paid its own way, and moved into profitable lines
          of business.
          Public transportation spending was rapidly redirected in the late
          1990s from highway expansion to infrastructure maintenance, improved
          system management, and strategic freight system improvements.
          Capital funds for transit system expansion increased slowly during
          the late 1990s, then increased more rapidly in the early 2000s as
          agreement grew on the advantages of shifting to transit-oriented
          development. National policy increasingly focused on incorporating
          the environmental and social costs of activiti es into market
          prices. A revenue-neutral "green tax shift" was implemented in the
          early 2000s that gradually cut taxes on wages, savings, and
          investment while gradually increasing taxes on fossil fuels, waste
          generation, and environmentally destructive activities. Once the
          principle of paying for social and environmental costs with tax
          shifts was widely understood, it was applied to transportation in
          areas such as congestion pricing, VMT fees, and cashing-out free
          ISTEA, federal initiatives to foster an integrated multimodal
          national transportation system, and budget pressures gave an impetus
          to more integrated decision-making, despite entrenched interests and
          organizational cultures that formed in an earlier era of
          transportation planning. States took the lead in creating
          metropolitan and regional approaches to coordinating land use and
          transportation planning. The U.S. transition to transit-oriented
          development helped set a global example for creating more effi cient
          and environmentally sound urban development patterns. U.S.
          development assistance programs encouraged several developing
          countries struggling with the growth of megacities to
          establish "model TODs."
          Scenario 4: Reinventing the City
          By 2050, many of the problems that dominated the headlines earlier
          in the century -- from crime and air pollution to the soaring costs
          of government -- are universally viewed as pathologies caused by
          pursuing a flawed vision urban development. In the 2020s, the
          problems caused by urban sprawl became so severe, and transit-
          oriented development proved so popular, that many regions and cities
          began to move toward the strictly bounded growth pattern common in
          Western European metropolitan areas.
          In this pattern of development, urban growth boundaries are drawn
          tightly around built up areas and strongly enforced to pressure new
          development to occur at higher densities. Nearly all new jobs are
          created in one of two locations: in designated clusters within the
          urban growth boundary, or in smaller new communities outside the
          boundary separated from each other and the older urban area by
          permanent green belts.
          Within the boundaries, new growth is organized whenever possible in
          the form of transit-oriented development (TOD). Most of the new
          communities created outside the boundaries extend from existing
          small towns or small cities. A few are new towns based on
          environmentally superior technologies and the latest concepts of
          sustainable community design. All the new communities are linked
          with each other, and with the older urban areas, by public transit,
          creating a new kind of urban system in which nearly ever y location
          can be reached quickly and conveniently by public transit. Growing
          numbers of people lead active, fulfilling lives without owning
          In the 2020s, as "minorities" became the majority of the U.S.
          population, healing the social and economic divisions arising from
          our society's unique history of race and immigration became the
          central issue in national politics. Concentrating new jobs in mixed
          income TODs with moderate amounts of low-cost housing proved to be
          the single most popular and effective way of improving access for
          all low-income citizens to educational opportunities, jobs and
          affordable housing.
          Extremely positive experiences with revitalized community life led
          many people to reappraise their highly individualistic and
          consumption-oriented lifestyles. At the same time, dwindling oil
          reserves and sharply rising energy costs created a powerful economic
          incentive for more compact, energy-efficient settlement patterns.
          Some of the motivations for owning large homes and cars disappeared
          as changing values emphasized "better" over "bigger."
          After 2020, transit became the dominant organizer of the emerging
          high-density pattern of urban growth. By 2050, the automobile's
          century-long dominance of urban transportation has ebbed and transit
          has come into its Golden Age. Investment in transit is widely
          perceived as being justified because it provides a simultaneous
          solution for a wide range of national problems -- reducing
          congestion and improving mobility, cutting the health costs of air
          pollution and protecting the environment, coping with hig h energy
          costs, revitalizing community life, and ending the self-defeating
          concentration of low-income people in the nation's inner cities.
          By 2050, densities in many locations have increased to a level that
          supports a wide variety of transit services, from busways for
          electric and fuel cell-powered superbuses to light rail and personal
          rapid transit (PRT). During the past three decades, the number of
          cars per household have declined sharply. The transit industry has
          become highly entrepreneurial, making "customer service" the driving
          force in its evolution. Transit systems have organized on an
          international scale to coordinate re search, development and
          demonstration efforts. They have also undertaken major efforts to
          help transit's labor force become more flexible and upgrade its
          skills for working with high technology applications and
          maintenance. Transportation-related institutions made dramatic
          improvements in coordination, especially after the 2010s when a
          shared vision of transit-oriented development began to shape
          decisions. A seamless, intermodal, national transportation system
          emerged with transit playing a large role.
          To achieve coordination among land use, transportation planning,
          sewer and water systems, and waste disposal systems, many areas
          created elected metropolitan area governments. Some merged the
          governments of a central city, nearby towns, and one or more major
          counties. More frequently, infrastructure planning is put in the
          hands of a regionally chosen body that is not a full-functioning
          metropolitan government, but does have the power to plan basic
          infrastructure and implement its decisions.
          Many developing countries still continue to experience rapid growth.
          The new transportation technologies and patterns of sustainable
          community development pioneered in the U.S. and other industrial
          nations are proving crucial to the workability of the megacities
          that have emerged in highly populous developing nations.
          A Vision of Mobility for the 21st Century
          A generation from now, our nation's communities can be far better
          places to live and work in than they are today. Here is our vision
          of a future worth striving for.
          By 2050, our pioneering efforts to apply principles of sustainable
          development at the metropolitan level have transformed America's
          cities and influenced urban development around the world. The
          potential disaster that sprawling megacities posed to the natural
          environment and the human spirit has been avoided. We are moving
          instead toward urban forms built on livable, human-scale communities
          in balance with nature. The old polarity that pitted development
          against the environment is obsolete. The new, widely accepted ideal
          is to foster a new kind of sustainable community development that
          will work over the long run because it benefits the economy, the
          environment, social equity, community life, and personal quality of
          life -- all at the same time.
          In the U.S., our older cities and suburbs are thriving. Even worst-
          case areas such as former slums and industrial sites have been
          successfully redeveloped. The commercial "edge cities" that emerged
          in the late 20th century have been infilled with residential
          development and remade into real communities. For decades, public
          infrastructure expenditures, urban growth boundaries, and local
          zoning have concentrated suburban infill and new development into
          compact, pedestrian-scale communities. These communities are transit-
          oriented developments (TODs) centered around transit stations and
          interconnected by regional transit networks. The result is a
          historically new metropolitan form that has revitalized community
          life while creating unprecedented ease of access throughout larger
          urban regions.
          Transit-oriented developments (TODs) have replaced low-density
          suburbs as the most sought-after kind of neighborhood. Much of their
          attraction is that they "go back" to the size and traditional
          neighborhood designs that make older European cities and America's
          small towns so appealing. Most jobs and stores and a substantial
          amount of housing are located within walking distance of transit
          stops, and are all near each other or intermixed rather than
          separated. Neighborhoods are designed to maxim ize the ease of
          pedestrian and bicycle movement as well as transit access, so many
          people find it easy to visit friends and neighbors, or shop, or
          travel to work without an automobile.
          Dense but low-rise development and attractive public spaces bring
          neighbors together. There is a constant bustle of neighborhood
          activity because so many people work in community-based small
          businesses or spend at least part of the time telecommuting from
          home. Squares, greens and parks are designed to encourage the
          presence of people throughout the day and evening. Natural features
          such as creeks and steams have been restored and brought above
          ground, with the most dramatic features highlighted in publ ic
          settings. Residents take great pride in giving their communities a
          distinctive character and "sense of place," perhaps a reaction
          against the uniformity of suburban development in the past. Each
          community or cluster of communities has a defined edge such as a
          wildlife corridor or agricultural greenbelt permanently protected
          from development.
          These changes in physical design have helped kindle a renewed
          community spirit. Shorter work hours and briefer commutes give
          people more time to participate in family and community activities.
          The revitalization of community life has had strikingly positive
          effects on social problems ranging from crime, youth gangs and drug
          abuse to depression and family disintegration.
          TODs offer much wider choices of housing types, densities and costs
          than conventional suburbs. They make single family homes available
          for all who want them, but also meet the demand for low- and
          moderate-cost housing. Affordable housing in close proximity to jobs
          proved to be the key to breaking up the concentrations of poor
          people living the cheapest, most deteriorated housing in urban
          centers. That geographical concentration of poverty, isolated from
          job creation in the suburbs, was a major cause of inner city
          unemployment, crime, school breakdown, and other social problems
          that became acute in the late 20th century.
          While we have "gone back" to traditional neighborhood designs, we
          have "gone forward," spectacularly, in developing sustainable
          transportation technologies. When we travel by automobile,
          intelligent transportation systems (ITS) reduce delays and zero-
          emission vehicles minimize air pollution. Advanced transit systems,
          including personal rapid transit (PRT), offer the kind of just-in-
          time, point-to-point service that only automobiles could provide in
          the past. Complete information abou t schedules, routes, and fares
          is available instantaneously, anywhere. Improved payment systems
          such as barrier-free honor fares and universal fare cards that work
          on every mode of transportation make transit more attractive to
          riders. Universal access to the information superhighway has reduced
          the demand for transportation, allowing us to work, learn, shop,
          bank, and obtain medical services without leaving our homes.
          We have come to understand that low density sprawl is enormously
          costly. Only large public subsidies made it possible for states and
          communities to expand and maintain the spread-out networks of
          highways, water and sewer systems, and other infrastructure needed
          to support low-density development. Compact transit-oriented
          development is proving far more cost-effective because it requires
          less new infrastructure and makes better use of existing
          infrastructure. It saves commuting time for many people, cuts urban
          air pollution, and improves energy-efficiency. More compact
          development patterns also protect our farms and rural areas from
          being overrun by sprawl. More natural areas and open spaces remain
          to sustain and uplift us.
          We now insist on full cost accounting and pricing mechanisms to give
          us accurate information on the real costs of transportation and
          development choices. Government subsidies that encourage fringe
          development have been eliminated, and we internalize costs of
          environmental damage into market prices. We do this through revenue-
          neutral tax strategies carefully crafted to protect the economy and
          avoid harming low-income people.
          A less intrusive but more coherent federal government role has been
          essential for creating an integrated, multimodal national
          transportation system and for relating transportation planning to
          other social goals such as environmental quality and inner city
          revitalization. States have taken the lead in creating new
          institutional arrangements for integrating transportation and land
          use planning. Metropolitan areas have pioneered intergovernmental
          agreements in areas such as urban growth boundaries. A renai ssance
          of local leadership in community design and economic development has
          been triggered by the challenge of creating livable, economically
          dynamic communities. Private developers and businesses, working in a
          new framework of clear "rules of the game," have been the engines of
          urban revitalization. There is a widely shared sense of success, a
          realization that we are succeeding in revitalizing our cities and
          creating a way of life that is better from every point of view.
          Utopian? No. A large stretch? Yes... but no more so than the changes
          that have occurred over the past fifty years. Achievable?
          Certainly...when we make our choices on the basis of what will make
          the future work for our children and grandchildren.

          Mobility for the 21st Century Task Force
          Ms. Shirley A. DeLibero, Chair
          Mobility 21 Participants
          Mr. James S. Barbour
          Mr. J. Barry Barker
          Mr. Ronald L. Barnes
          Mr. Hans Baumann
          Mr. G. Stevens Bernard
          Mr. Michael Bolton
          Ms. Edie Bryan
          Ms. Anne Canby
          Mr. Paul Carlson
          Ms. Amy A. Coggin
          Ms. Marlene B. Connor
          Mr. Lawrence Dahms
          Mr. Rod Diridon
          Ms. Dorothy Dugger
          Mr. John A. Dyer
          Dr. Bernard A. Fleishman
          Mr. David Foote
          Bernard J. Ford, Sr.
          Ms. Sharon Goodwin
          Mr. Robert L. Graham
          Mr. Armando V. Greco
          Ms. Carolyn B. Guerra
          Mr. Art Guzzetti
          Ms. Susan J. Hafner
          Mr. Cliff Henke
          Ms. Fran Hooper
          Ms. Julie H. Hoover
          Mr. Jerald L. Hughes
          Ms. Brigid Hynes-Cherin
          Ms. Laura A. Jibben
          Mr. Randy L. Johnson
          Mr. Ronald C. Kane
          Mr. Alan F. Kiepper
          Mr. Ronald J. Kilcoyne
          Mr. Robert G. Lingwood
          Mr. Ed Maurer
          William W. Millar
          Mr. Roland Mross
          Mr. Hubert Murray
          Mr. Roy Nakadegawa, P.E.
          Mr. Charles A. Nelson
          Ms. Tish Nettleship
          Mr. Robert L. Olson
          Mr. Neil Peterson
          Mr. Ted J. Rieck
          Mr. James Rooney
          Mr. Stan Rosenblum
          Ms. Nancy Shevock
          Mr. Paul P. Skoutelas
          Ms. Iona Spencer
          Mr. Robert G. Stanley
          Mr. Paul Taylor
          Mr. John F. Tucker, III
          Mr. William L. Volk
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