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7437Re: [carfree_cities] Is the oil dependence problem on the radar?

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  • Mike Morin
    Jun 4, 2004
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      Joe wrote:

      > I still feel like most of the country really doesn t get
      >it. What does everyone else think?

      I think you're correct. Judging by the choices made by American consumers
      (e.g. the preponderance of SUVs), I would have to conclude that the majority
      of Americans are unaware of the imminent shortages of fuel, the problems of
      global warming and other sorts of pollution, the availability and
      desirability of walkable environments, or they just don't or won't believe

      It is deeply troubling to me that there is virtually no "economy" new cars
      available. For example, look what has happened to the Toyota Camry. New ones
      are now as big as the Ford Taurus. Similar enlargement can be seen for
      almost all "Japanese" makes and models. The American cars have remained
      large, and the production of SUVs has become the pre-eminent products
      available and sold (for almost all automakers).

      What is more disheartening is that people have been given and made huge life
      choices (i.e. homes in sprawl and the dependence and convenience of large
      automobiles) that are almost impossible to reverse. The government policies
      of the last sixty years (i.e. highway programs, VA and FHA lending to
      bedroom community developments, infrastructure development) and the
      associated projects by developers (i.e. sprawl housing and malls) have left
      little choice with regard to the major life/purchase choices that Americans
      make and have made. New urbanism and smart growth are a relatively recent
      notions and the awareness or at least the acceptance of such seems to be
      confined to a minority of the population. Furthermore, there is a premium
      associated with the relatively few new urbanist developments that many
      people can't and/or won't pay. Even if everyone decided that new urbanism
      was their choice, one that they were willing to pay for, the choice would
      not be available to most of them. That is, the supply and demand situation
      would drive up further the costs of new urbanist living and they would be
      unable to sell their existing property or command a workable price to make
      the move.

      What is needed is a good study documenting the degree of cogniton and the
      acceptance of the principles of new urbanism and smart growth among the
      general population. A good study would give us insight into how to proceed
      with an educational agenda. After which, the more difficult assignment of
      building a smart, new urbanist environment transitioned from the sprawl
      would be our burden.

      Mike Morin

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Joe" <jbushkey@...>
      To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, June 04, 2004 2:44 PM
      Subject: [carfree_cities] Is the oil dependence problem on the radar?

      > In a recent email from John Kerry's campaign there was a short interview
      > with Rand Beers. It was mostly about fighting terrorism, but his last
      > line was:
      > "Finally, we need to become energy independent, so our foreign policy
      > isn't distorted by our dependence on Middle East oil."
      > Politicians do talk a lot and this wasn t even Kerry speaking, but I
      > was encouraged to read it anyway. I didn t post the article because I
      > thought it had little relevance to this group and wasn t sure if
      > campaign email would be acceptable to post.
      > My question to the group is how aware are people of the oil dependence
      > problem? For myself as little as 18 months ago id say I was 0% aware.
      > Now that I bike commute, belong to this and other forums, have read some
      > books on New Urbanism I read about it everyday. There are some articles
      > in the main stream press, the national geographic mentioned here in
      > another post. I still feel like most of the country really doesn t get
      > it. What does everyone else think?
      > Have a Great Weekend,
      > Joe
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