With many studies expounding on the urban 'heat island' effect, it seems that global climate change can be blamed on cities just as much as suburbs -- if not more so. Joel Kotkin and Ali Modarres explain, and propose a greener suburb for the future.
"With their multiplying McMansions and exploding Explorers, the burbs are the reason we're paying so much for gas and heating oil and spewing all those emissions that are heating up the atmosphere -- or so a host of urban proponents tells us. It's time to ditch the burbs and go back to the city."
"Here's one point that's generally relegated to academic journals and scientific magazines: Highly concentrated urban areas can contribute to overall warming that extends beyond their physical boundaries."
"Studies in cities around the world -- Beijing, Rome, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles and more -- have found that packed concentrations of concrete, asphalt, steel and glass can contribute to a phenomenon known as 'heat islands' far more than typically low-density, tree-shaded suburban landscapes. As an October 2006 article in the New Scientist highlighted, 'cities can be a couple of degrees warmer during the day and up to 6 degrees C [11 degrees Fahrenheit] warmer at night.'"
"Here's an Earth-to-greens message: Instead of demonizing the suburbs, why not build better, greener ones and green the ones we already have?"
"One approach might be to embrace what one writer, Wally Siembab, has dubbed 'smart sprawl.' Encouraging this sort of development will require a series of steps: reducing commuters' gas consumption with more fuel-efficient cars, dispersing work to centers close to where workers live and promoting continued growth in home-based work. We'll also have to protect open spaces by monitoring development and establishing land conservation based on public and private funding, the latter coming from developers who wish to work in suburbs."