Sunday, September 19, 2010

Two books about urban design & nature

I am currently reading two books, one which is infuriating me and one which I find quite reasonable and practical. This isn't surprising that you could have two books that could elicit differing responses, however they are in fact discussing exactly the same thing. Both of them are discussing urban design, particularly in America, and examining the idea that urban sprawl is bad and some of the metropolis's in America have smaller environmental footprints.

The first book seems to be chanting how great the smaller, more compact metropolis is and how terrible for the environment the 'urban sprawl' model of the suburbs is. I have mixed feelings about this principle to start with. Certainly there are components that are correct in this bare bones argument and certainly applied to the stereotypical urban sprawl model this is accurate, but I find a sense of greenwashing has been applied to this model that the author is trying to shove down your throat. I feel the book has been written very emotively and I find that I am reading it in a similar fashion.

The second book is discussing the same principle of a lighter environmental footprint in the compact metropolis, but it seems to be doing it in a more enlightened, educated and balanced way. And thus I am not feeling my shackles flaring up reading this one.

Now that I have had my rant, I will try and dedicate another post to discussing the principles and concepts that support the argument that the model of current suburban lifestyles is so terrible for the environment and the planet as a whole.
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