Metropolises Aren't Sustainable

Famed architect Leon Krier says that "metropolitan development is a mistake and is unsustainable," calling for a more polycentric approach.

Prathima Manohar of The Urban Vision chatted with Krier and recorded their conversation.

Krier on metropolises: "I think metropolitan development is a mistake and is unsustainable. I don't think there is one metropolitan in the world that works. Metropolises like London, New York and other big concentrations are really like big imperial power centres rooted in the use of too much fossil fuel. I would encourage a more polycentric approach towards urbanization."

Krier also talks specifically about Indian cities and development and explains new urbanism.

Full Story: "Human civilization has systemic problems"



Cities are green

Has Krier analyzed the per capita use of fossil fuels in the large cities he mentions versus other places? He may find that cities are truly the greenest places on earth, with the lowest per capita energy use anywhere.

Cities are relatively green

Cities in current form may be green relative to other settlements, but the type of city design advocated by Krier would in principle be much greener, having much lower use of fossil fuels. Krier uses a 10 minute walking time metric to define small clustered regions which contain all services to maximize pedestrianism, and also advocates the use of natural materials for building, and adapting to the local climate and environment. In current cities, buildings are made of high-embodied energy structures, and there is no adaptation to local climate, and the gaps between the environment this strategy creates and actual human comfort zones is made up with energy use. Krier opposes what he believes are overly dense and specialized central cities and too diffuse sprawl, opting instead for a duplicated series of the relatively small clusters described above. If you haven't read any of Krier's books, pick one up from the library and take a look, he has a nice style of presenting simple comic-like drawings to visualize his ideas.


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