View Full Version : Energy And The New Green Metropolis
12-21-11, 01:34 PM
According to the energy experts we are just within a few decades of using up half the global oil supply. The first half was consumed at a zero rate of consumption to the present days consumption rate. With consumption at the present rate, the second half will go much quicker.
Our infrastructures sustainability and growth is based upon the assumption energy will always be as easy to access as oil and will have an increasing supply. It appears the available alternatives will never make it as easy as it has been up to this point. I'm not an expert in energy, but this seems to indicate the possibility we are facing a real catastrophic energy deadline to get things turned around. If indeed an catastrophic energy situation is what we are facing, isn't there a need to begin to build a 'green metropolis'?
What I mean by ‘green metropolis’ is something based on mass transit and self-supporting in terms of physical goods. In other words, a metropolis built to handle this energy crisis, based on the energy solutions that will last thousands of years vs. a couple of centuries.
Is this America's future? Will we have to abandon the oil sprawl infrastructure in order sustain a first world status? If so, we can kiss the unemployment rates goodbye. We've got a lot of work ahead.
What do you think about this?
I'm fascinated by the idea of green cities. there are several really interesting models to consider:
But there is so much that individual cities can do to improve their energy use. For example, turning out the lights in the office buildings. That would also save money - - and millions of birds. Planting turf on the flat asphalt roofs might be a good start, or at least painting them white. Each landlord could do that with minimal investment and no need to wait on political action.
Another thing almost every industry and business and retail outlet can do right away is install a few solar panels, increasing them as the energy saving liberates more funds. Other measures, such as local vegetable gardens, both public and private, would be relatively easy. Insulation upgrades, of course, and wind-breaks and baffles.
I don't approve of wind-farms, by the way. The machines are unwieldy, expensive and objectionable to a lot of people who live nearby, and they power still has to be conveyed to the the end-user via a huge grid, with switching stations and wires that cause unnecessary power-loss and innumerable points of potential breakdown and disruption.
Power generation needs to be planned locally, according to available sources and specific requirements. Every factory, every house, or at the very least every town or neighbourhood needs its own custom-tailored system of electricity, heating-cooling, water and waste processing. It would be way cheaper and less bogged down in political rigamarole than trying to do it nationally, or trying to change the accustomed workings of corporations.
Here is an example.
12-23-11, 01:53 PM
I didn't know about that. Wow. I really like the idea of a 90% mass transit. This should really save on energy, considering how much a energy is used when a person walks vs. the energy a person uses when they wieight over 2000 lbs due to their transportation. That's a big dinner plate every night to feed the beast that sleeps in the driveway.
Two problems with the idea I see is that it doesn't seem to be fundamentally growth oriented based upon location and design. It also is designed for self-sufficiency. Perhaps an American model could address these issues.
Location and design: 1. It's next to another major city. 2. It's not a pie shape design. A pie shape would be circular where each division of the pie would be industrial, residential, commercial, etc. A pie plan would allow for expotential outward growth minimum disorder.
Self-sufficiency: It is also not a designed based on self-sufficiency, so it can't be used as a model just to plop down in a wide open space, which is most likely the best idea when designing a future oriented city that will continue to expand without running into other obstructions. Self-sufficiency would inculde growth of food, raising of cattle, manufacture of basic goods, energy independence, etc. Of couse some imports may be neccessary due to mineral needs, etc.
Quite possibly, if energy is really the concern it appears to be, this may not be a luxury or choice for America, but rather a neccessity to build a sci-fi city as this.
12-23-11, 02:47 PM
Just to add something more that's going on as well:
Twenty miles outside of Abu Dhabi, in the scorching desert of the United Arab Emirates, the new planned city of Masdar is nearly ready for its close-up. This weekend The New York Times reported from the experimental zero-carbon closed community, funded by stacks of oil money, which is now prepared to take on its first inhabitants. The urban design is simultaneously sleek and unsettling, raising the questions: Is this what the city of the future will look like, and would that be a good thing?
Masdar, which is a mile square and built to house 90,000 people, will draw nearly all its power from solar panels outside the city. The city’s infrastructure—including the solar project, the water treatment plant and the waste operations—will be outside the city perimeter. The network of streets for vehicles, prowled by electric cars only, is all underground. All the dirty bits of the city, then, are out of sight.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=city%20where%20electric%20vehicles%20are%20all%2 0underground%20in%20the%20mid%20east&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CDwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.discovermagazine.com%2F80be ats%2F2010%2F09%2F27%2Fis-the-uaes-new-zero-carbon-city-more-revolutionary-or-gimmicky%2F&ei=7ef0TrHAHoyA2QXegNm8CA&usg=AFQjCNFHJXcw11po3W9ccCDV8HNypuYoZA
12-25-11, 03:46 AM
If there is a Utopia (except for the cruel parts) it would be a way to live in peace and harmony without leaving our collective footprint on the earth and without sacrificing our individual senses of freedom and self-determination.
Is it achievable? To some degree ancient cultures, some small towns, some experimental communities and some indigenous ones have probably come close.
With these as models, will this philosophy ever take root? It's hard to imagine, in a world that presses harder and harder for expediency and creature comforts, against the backdrop of people living in misery and despair, that it ever will make a significant dent in global behavior.
At best, those of us who feel so inclined can seek refuge wherever we can find it, wherever we can create it.
I'm not sure every community design should be growth-oriented. Growth is inherently unstable - or at least, very difficult to plan for and control. Suppose you take the present size of a city as given, and allow for +/- 10% population. Once it approaches capacity, start building a satellite community with a predetermined population limit.
Pie-shape is all right in a smallish town, but would be nightmarish in a city of 3,000,000. Large cities need to be - thoughtfully, carefully - reorganized into habitable as well as functional neighbourhoods, so that most people can walk to work and shop or harvest dinner and pick up their kids on the way home. That's why each city has to make its own custom plan, according to size, population, climate and existing infrastructure.
The present state of technology would have been impossible to achieve without the dirty old industrial revolution, but now it's evolved to the point where we can make the things we need - quality things that last - in small, clean, quiet factories and workshops, without killing the workers - a high-tech cottage industry, if you like. Think of the savings, both in energy and pollution, on the transporting of manufactured goods alone!
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