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    Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change

    Peter Newman, Tim Beatley, and Heather Boyer

    Half of the inhabitants in the world live in cities. In the following twenty years, the number of urban dwellers will swell to an estimated five billion people. Using buildings that are poorly designed and their ineffective transportation systems, many cities particularly in the United States use up enormous amounts of fossil fuels and emit high levels of greenhouse gases. But our planet is quickly running from the carbon-based fuels that have powered urban growth for centuries and we seem to be not able to check our greenhouse gas emissions. Are the world's cities headed for unavoidable failure?

    The authors of the energetic book do not consider that oblivion is essentially the destiny of urban areas. Rather, they believe that direction is visionary and sensible planning that can help cities meet with the impending disasters, and look to existing initiatives in cities around the world. Rather than responding with fear (as a legion of doomsaying prognosticators have done), they choose expectation. They confront the issues, describing where we stand now in our usage of oil as well as our contribution to climate change. They then present four potential results for cities: collapse, ruralized, divided, and resilient. In response to their scenarios, they say a new sustainable urbanism could replace today's carbon-consuming urbanism. They address in detail how buildings and new transportation systems can be feasibly developed to replace our low efficiency systems that are present.

    That is not a publication filled with blue sky theory (although blue skies are going to be a welcome result of its recommendations). Rather, it's packed with practical ideas, a few of which are working in cities today. It implies these problems are solvable, although it frankly confesses that our cities have issues that may worsen when they are not addressed. And the time to begin solving them is now.



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    Ten Solutions to Reduce our Oil Addiction that are Feasible, Healthy, and Sustainable

    by the Congress for the New Urbanism

    1. An instantaneous and permanent moratorium on all new major road construction and growths.

    2. An instant and permanent moratorium on all new airport construction and expansions, together with an ending to all air travel subsidies. Furthermore, an end to oil industry subsidies.

    3. An enormous increase in funding for Amtrak and therapid construction of a train network that is new that is national across America joining every city, town, and area using an efficient, state-of-the-art electrical train system comparable to what's now running all across Japan and Europe. This ought to be constructed to carry both passengers and all of the cargo now went by trucks that were very ineffective.

    4. The accelerated tripling of minimal vehicle miles for all vehicles created in America- actioned with an instant and complete conversion of automobile factories to the building of electric vehicles, solar,and fully hybrid vehicle.

    5. An immediate moratorium on the building of any new coal fired or nuclear power producing plants.

    6. The fast construction of massive new solar and wind electricity producing capacity all across America, including area scale andsmall wind turbinesthat may be incorporated inconspicuously to the roofs of buildings. In addition, the immediate installation of new hydropower generatingcapacity in tidalenergy capture and the form ofcoastalwave.

    7. Therapid installation of roof that is complete solar panels on every building in The Us.

    8. An immediate moratorium on the construction of any added sprawl (which deepens vehicle/oil reliance).

    9. A significant focus of federal, state, and local authorities on the revitalization and densificationof all existing cities and towns across America into walkable, mixed-use communities, with pedestrians and bikes given top priority over cars, as well as a serious focus on bikes and trains as the leading forms of transport. Contained would be millions of housing units that are affordable and good quality neighborhood schools located so all children can walk or bike to them.

    10. The quick installation of major organic farmsat the edge of each city and town across America. As well as this, therapid putting of an incredible number of trees across America.

    From Congress for New Urbanism website,, 2006.

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    "Resilience in our personal lives in about lasting, about making it through crises, about inner strength and strong physical constitution. Resilience is destroyed by fear, which causes us to panic, reduces our inner resolve, and eventually debilitates our bodies. Resilience is built on hope, which gives us confidence and strength. Hope is not blind to the possibility of everything getting worse, but it is a choice we make when faced with challenges. Hope brings health to our souls and bodies. 

    Resilience can be applied to cities. They too need to last, to respond to crises and adapt in a way that may cause them to change and grow differently; cities require an inner strength, a resolve, as well as a strong physical infrastructure and built environment." 
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