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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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    What About Freight?

    Among the key justifications for building freeways today is through the requirement to guarantee a better deal for cargo. So there is a political and economic rationale to move them away from folks onto roads that are big, trucks and people do not mix well. So expressways, are being constructed around cities, mostly, rather than through them as they're much more difficult to get support for the present time.

    There exists a need for cargo as trucks are an essential part of all freight systems to be given consideration in the plans of areas and cities; there's no city that's formed a technology for transferring goods within a city besides by truck. And sometimes a circumferential route around a city might help as it strives to create a more sustainable future for its people-oriented functions in centres. The Dutch ABC system tries to sort out just how to do this by ensuring people-intensive actions are not and served by transit freeways while freight-intensive tasks involving few people are served by good roads. Other policy directions that will assist with cargo in a post peak oil economy include:

    Ensuring that freight has precedence over passenger vehicles in entrance to fuel in the period when drop in availability begin to shove on prices rapidly upward. These latter cities use a great deal of diesel inside their bus fleet in addition to their trucks but in both cases there is a need to empower these functions to possess priority over the gas using auto users who've other available choices.

    Increasingly there is a dependence on freight to be switched to train. Yet the infrastructure for railroad freight needs renewing and expanding as with passenger transportation system. Most cities have goals now to boost the percentage of freight from other high intensity sites and ports on rail. Sydney is going from 20% to 40% as well as the Virginia shore around Norfolk is going based on a $200 million upgrade of track. Other functions may also be switched to rail in the freight task. Higher oil prices will make those cities and regions that have updated their options to trucks substantially better off.

    There's a land use component in addition to a "trails vs roads" element in cargo just as in passenger transportation. To enable train to work you need nodes or facilities. For cargo this means intermodal terminals that will enable economies of scale to be produced. Inland ports and interchange points can enable freight to be switched to train.

    There's a style of reducing trucks that uses intelligent programming of deliveries. Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) or freight logistics can halve using cargo vehicles saving both oil and cash.

    Most importantly the growth in freight in general cannot be found as in any manner sustainable. Projections for freight by truck receptions, ports, airports as well as train companies, sees freight doubling every ten years as well as less. It's occurred in previous decades but it cannot keep doubling. No railway and road system, no port and no airport, can survive together with the kind of numbers that are being projected. As the cost of transportation in goods is now so small it is practically hardly a factor in decisions to import or export this growth was assembled on the premise of inexpensive petroleum. That wills alter. Cities and regions will have to adjust to having less increase in the goods which can be imported or exported from their areas, unless they may be simply delivered by train or ship (by far the most fuel efficient modes). There will even be a demand for a consumptive society in general so also reducing the importance of freight[i].

    [i] (Civitas TrendSetter, 2003); (Princen, 2005).

    Next Article Is there a Travel-Time Limit to City Growth?

    "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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