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Neighborhood density and the climate

One hill I will die on is the neeed for denser neighborhoods with more transit, more active transport routes, and more housing options. I think it's better for people. It's certainly better for the environment. And it's one way that we can maybe reduce our national carbon emissions.

From The Climate Impact of Your Neighborhood, Mapped:

Households in denser neighborhoods close to city centers tend to be responsible for fewer planet-warming greenhouse gases, on average, than households in the rest of the country. Residents in these areas typically drive less because jobs and stores are nearby and they can more easily walk, bike or take public transit. And they’re more likely to live in smaller homes or apartments that require less energy to heat and cool.

See? I'm not the only one saying this. Actual professionals who research this stuff are saying it too. This is a climate justice issue that policy (and action!) can solve. It does, however, require rich people to relinquish space and suffer the indignities of, like, being able to see their neighbor's house or flying commercial. To wit:

Higher-income households generate more greenhouse gases, on average, because wealthy Americans tend to buy more stuff — appliances, cars, furnishings, electronic gadgets — and travel more by car and plane, all of which come with related emissions.

I don't mean to knock rich people here … I mean, I do, but I also recognize that I fly a few times per year. Still, things like zoning changes could make a huge difference. From the article:

But in earlier research, Dr. Jones has shown that for many cities, such as Berkeley, Calif., the single most effective climate strategy local leaders can pursue is to add what’s known as infill housing, apartments or townhouses built in underutilized parts of cities to reduce car dependence and improve energy efficiency.

We'll never curb our carbon emissions unless we reduce our car dependency. And while EVs are better for the climate than gas-powered-cars, I think fairness dictates solutions that don't require the ability to finance a $40,000 vehicle.1 Poor and middle-income people need to get around too.

  1. I said $40,000, but Ford just raised prices on their entry level model of the F-150 Lightning pickup to $56,000 long Yanqui dollars. Ford's Mach E starts at $47,000.