'Within 18-36 months, we will have terrible trouble with oil and natural gas,' said Kunstler. His prediction was not disputed by anyone present.
Rust belt cities such as Baltimore, Pittsburgh and smaller towns and cities were mentioned by various panelists as prime candidates for renovation, re-densification and "urban in-fill." Heavily oil-dependent cities such as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Houston were noted by the panel as most likely not to thrive in the new economy.
'Retail is going to retreat into the background,' said a panelist, cautioning, however, that 'The blacktop lobby is right there on infrastructure opportunities.' The U.S. was cited by panelists for allotting 20 feet of retail for every citizen, as compared to one foot per citizen in Sweden, France and Italy.
The need for advocacy and lobbying of government to direct economic resources to less oil-dependent transportation, such as rebuilding the rail system and waterways, was another theme that resonated among the panelists and some in the audience."