Squish Cities, Save Gas


One of the oddest ways we’ve heard to stop car pollution comes to us care of BusinessWeek. Columnist Alex Steffen says that we shouldn’t be looking at reworking the car to save the planet, we should be reworking the American city.

The thought is if communities are denser — clustered around shopping and other needs like hospitals — then folks will need to drive less. Steffen almost has us when he digs up the fact that half of America will be rebuilt anyway by 2030, so we might as well make it denser.

He also says that cars take too long to redesign. However, we’ve seen radical changes in automotive technology, and in a few years, plug-in electrics look to be a reality coming from many automakers.

Condensing neighborhoods still sounds like an interesting idea, but if you think it was hard to get people to give up their big SUVs, giving up quiet cul-de-sacs full of two-car garages might be even harder.

Cities: A Smart Alternative to Cars (BusinessWeek)

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Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David