What If We All Lived In New Hampshire?
Hello from 35,000 feet. Traveling home from a visit to Texas I found this terrific graphic in my inbox. (I do a lot of email maintenance on airplanes.)
As an urban dweller I find the vast openness of our country fascinating. How can a nation of 308 million people occupy so little of it? Does that explain why we’re so careless with our resources as compared to more crowded places in Europe and Asia? We treat our land as though we have an endless supply, which from the look of things down below, maybe we do.
But still, most of us want to live in convenient proximity to certain comforts and amenities and we keep adding on to our cities by plowing up the greenfields and expanding the suburbs. Soon we leave the cities to which we were once so attracted as empty shells with little appeal. See Detroit.
I love living in a walkable city with good public transportation. My community – the Foggy Bottom section of Washington DC – isn’t as dense as Brooklyn, but it’s pretty darn convenient to anything I want or need without getting in my car. In fact, I drive very little which adds considerably to my quality of life.
LEED SSc2 will grant points to projects located in urban areas with existing infrastructure. The credit encourages development density and community connectivity, the goal being to protect undeveloped land so that we all may continue to enjoy it. There are environmental and economic benefits to doing so, but – and I can vouch for this – it’s a far better way to live than captive in your car.
Don’t worry New Hampshire. We’re not all going to crowd into your boundaries and we wouldn’t much enjoy life if we did. But we can choose to live and work, and locate our projects, in developed, vibrant areas and keep those open spaces open.