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Re: SG-W:/ Sprawl

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 rights problem.
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 progress.
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 of households.
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 AM
Subject: SG-W:/ Sprawl

        I will 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 industry.
        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 transportation.
     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 transportation.
      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.
     The investments that we need to make for sustainability are so huge that we must start now so that they will be distributed over many years.
     A 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.
                             Kermit Schlansker