Kermit and others,
I don't think the fight against sprawl is hopeless, though the start
of any long, hard endeavor seems that way. In its early
days, the civil rights movement seemed hopeless, too -- and it was hard to
see how a sit-in or boycott or march would really 'solve' the entire civil
Heaven knows we have a lot farther to go on civil rights in this country,
but no rational student of the issue would deny that we've made considerable
I'd like to make one other point: it's simply not true that there's a
fixed number of units of housing that needs to be built. If it were that
simple, then we wouldn't have any sprawl at all in southeastern Michigan --
where suburbia continues to expand far faster than population or the number
In fact, study after study demonstrates that sprawl begets more
sprawl. It starts with a few houses, then a small development, then a
convenience store and gas station, then more
developments, roads, strip malls, sewer lines, more developments, more
malls, etc. Taxes go up to pay for sewers, roads, and schools. And
at some point, things 'tip' and the remaining open space gets
developed very quickly.
- Mike Sklar
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2003 8:11
Subject: SG-W:/ Sprawl
vote for the millage on open spaces that is being presented by the Mayor.
However there is also a feeling on my part that the whole idea is hopeless
unless there are major zoning changes accompanying it. If you protect one
piece of land, development will just go elsewhere. In buying this land you are
competing with a well financed housing
The only long term
remedy is to create zoning that discriminates against houses and favors large
apartments and other large buildings. The Ecomindium is an example of what
should be built.
We are approaching an age
where there will be no gas and oil. Houses will be unheatable because small
buildings have a low ratio of volume to surface area. Larger buildings can be
heated at no cost if cogeneration and comanufacturing are used to heat them.
The spreading out of houses makes it impossible to exist without a car. There
will be no fuel for cars in the future. Large buildings that accommodate all
phases of living including farming, manufacturing and dwelling are the only
things that will save the children. Large buildings make it possible to walk
to work thus making cars less important for essential
In order to create a sustainable
society Ann Arbor must grow up rather than out. Hong Kong is on of the most
vertical cities in the world. It also uses the least energy for personal
Factories and department
stores should be located within residential areas on almost every square mile
of the city so that people work or shop without using a car. It is egregious
that we must drive to the outskirts of the city to shop.
If steps are not taken now then, in 10 years
there will be very high unemployment rates. Within 30 years there will be
anarchy and partial starvation.
that we need to make for sustainability are so huge that we must start now so
that they will be distributed over many years.
league of cities could help to accelerate many sustainability goals such as
apartments, Ecomindiums, vertical shopping centers, tree planting programs,
and improving car gas mileage.