The Guardian newspaper is running the Live Better Challenge which is " all about coming together to make a difference to our lives, and the world around us, through positive action." This month's challenge is about energy, and I was invited to contribute an article. Almost all of our energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions result from our houses and buildings, and driving between our houses and buildings, so how we build, where we build and how densely we build really becomes the single most important question. Picking up on a theme that I have written about before in TreeHugger:
Cities need Goldilocks housing density – not too high or low, but just rightThe trend for elite towers that reach ever skywards isn't healthy for a sustainable community or for a balanced quality of life
Read more in the Guardian.
There is no question that high urban densities are important, but the question is how high, and in what form. There is what I have called the Goldilocks density: dense enough to support vibrant main streets with retail and services for local needs, but not too high that people can't take the stairs in a pinch. Dense enough to support bike and transit infrastructure, but not so dense to need subways and huge underground parking garages. Dense enough to build a sense of community, but not so dense as to have everyone slip into anonymity.