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When Density Meets Community: In Seattle, cutting carbon while increasing quality of life

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 04:19 PM
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When Density Meets Community: In Seattle, cutting carbon while increasing quality of life



from YES! Magazine:



When Density Meets Community
In Seattle, cutting carbon while increasing quality of life.

by Richard Conlin
posted Apr 07, 2011


Choices about controlling carbon emissions are shaped by public policies. Carbon emissions are lower in communities that are compact and that provide access, via transit and non-motorized travel, among jobs, homes, and commercial and recreational activities. New York is the classic examplewith great transit connections and many multi-family dwellings, New Yorkers emit much less carbon than other Americans, while enjoying a generally good quality of life.

Density by itself, however, only works with community. Low emissions without high quality of life is not an appropriate answer. Poor, dense urban areas in lower income countries do not have high carbon emissionsbut they are not ultimately sustainable, and their residents will strive for better lives regardless of the cost in carbon.

Seattle has already taken great strides in developing communities that are compact and sustainable over time. We are also in a great position to move further in this direction, but it will take careful and thoughtful public policy to ensure that we hit the sweet spot that matches denser communities with high quality of life.

Like most American cities, Seattle lost population between 1960, when it had 557,000 people, and 1990, when it had only 516,000. Most of Seattle is zoned for single family residences, and, except for downtown, most of the rest was dominated by low rise apartment and commercial buildings. Seattle never suffered the wholesale abandonment of neighborhoods that many cities experienced; population loss mainly reflected smaller household sizes, with most dwellings still occupied. With a downtown that never totally lost steam, and a network of thriving neighborhoods with modest commercial hubs at their centers, Seattle was well-positioned for success when the Citys leaders embraced the principles of Washingtons Growth Management Act and decided in the 1990s to move toward a vision of a more urban community. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/richard-conlin/density...



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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 10:13 PM
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1. Our cities all need a "livability makeover"
But I thought Seattle gets pretty high praise for livability...
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