Urban Planning &
The Next 50 Years
By J.H. Crawford
This site is very much under development.
Last update: 22 August 2001
On this site, all links sites will open in a new browser window
(excepting follow-on links at the bottom of a page).
We have a difficult 50 years ahead of us. World population will probably pass eight billion in about 30 years.
People will continue to expect rising standards of living in most of the world's nations. Yet we have already
exhausted about half of our reserves of petroleum and natural gas. Shortfalls loom within 10 years. What do we do?
We could burn more coal, as proposed by Bush & Co., at the cost of further aggravating the problem of global
warming. Or we can try to reduce our consumption while maintaining a high quality of life. Finally, we can
look at ways to increase the supply of renewable energy, which does not contribute to global warming.
To this end,
I will attempt to identify a strategy that will reduce energy consumption in the USA by 75% within 50 years
using mostly or entirely technology that is proven, in advanced development, or that can be extrapolated
from existing technology.
The proposals will be from a US perspective for the simple reason that the USA causes the emission of 25% of
the world's CO2 and yet has only 5% of the world's population. Other nations of the world face somewhat
different challenges, in particular the poorer nations of the world that seek to improve the quality
of life of their citizens. While much of what is proposed here may be relevant to their challenges,
I leave it up to others to identify strategies for nations other than the USA.
I am not going to wait to complete this site to post it on the net. As sections are completed, they
will be uploaded, and as better data becomes available, it will be included. Ultimatly, we need a
spreadsheet that shows precisely how the proposed 75% reduction is to be made; for now, I will work
on making massive reductions and later find a way to combine these to yield the proposed 75% reduction.
Even this, however, is not a permanent solution. It is nothing more than a useful way station on
the road to a fully-renewable energy supply.
As an example, I will attempt to show how each of the major modes of transportation could be made
50% more efficient, and also propose ways to change the modal split from less efficient to more
efficient modes. Taken together, these two measures should yield a reduction in the range of 25%.
That will have to be good enough for now.
Let us be clear: we face a challenge of unprecedented magnitude. We can follow the Bush strategy
and pretend that drilling for oil in prstine wildernesses and burning lots more coal will somehow
lead to a 32% increase in USA energy consumption in just 20 years, with no thought of either the
energy future or the consequences of global warming. I submit that this is simply not an option.
I challenge others, especially those who disagree with the proposals I will make here,
to present proposals for energy futures that reduce consumption by 75%, or to
propose how we can increase our production of renewable energy to make up the difference between
the reduction they propose and the 75% that I have assumed.
The Overall Picture
The Basic Solution: Doing More with Less
The overall picture
Fuel-Cell Trams, better, cheaper, and more fuel-efficient public transport
Interstate Rail, a proposal to partially convert the Interstate Highway system to rail use
The Automobile Revisited, a proposal to build 100 MPG cars using almost entirely existing technology.
The Wonders of Wood, a consideration of the importance of forest products in a sustainable society