Land use bibliography

[This is for Josh Dolan's Post-Peak Land Use, Part One and Part Two.]

Alexander, Christopher, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein. A Pattern Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

This text is organized as a series of patterns that occur over and over again in the physical design of older cities. A toolbox for the urban designer who wishes to create sustainable, livable communities with the timeless feel of centuries old European cities.

Corbet, Judy and Michael. Designing Sustainable Communities: Learning from Village Homes. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2000.

Connected with the New Urbanist Movement, this community uses natural drainage, passive and active solar design, and permaculture-based food production to create lower-energy living.

Gehl, Jan and Lars Gemzoe. New City Spaces. Copenhagen: William Stout, 2003.

Heinberg, Richard. Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2004.

Powerdown is a coordinated global political strategy that gears up the economy for a rapid transition to sustainable energy sources, much like the US gearing up for WW2.

Lyon Protocol -- The Design and Implementation of Large Car-Free Districts in Existing Cities. "Towards Car-Free Cities" conference in Lyon, France, October 1997.

Marx, Edward C., Commissioner of Planning. Tompkins County Comprehensive Plan: Planning for our Future. Ithaca, NY: Tompkins County Planning Department, 2004.

Such values as walkable neighborhoods, open space preservation, local industry, and traffic reduction are all addressed, and an action plan for each item is detailed.

Register, Richard. Ecocities: Building Cities in Balance with Nature. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Hills Books, 2002.

Cities can be instrumental in the regeneration and restoration of the natural world, becoming net producers of soil and the new engines of biodiversity. By creating diverse and dense three-dimensional cities, we can release the pressure that our sprawling settlement patterns put on the environment. This is the next step in human evolution.

Register, Richard. Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1987.

Ecocity Berkeley follows the future transformation of the City of Berkeley from a sprawling metropolis to a compact, environmentally sound ecocity. From zoning regulations, tax breaks, and most of all, design ideas, this text is essential to the creative process that ecocities represent.

Roelofs, Joan. Greening Cities: Building Just and Sustainable Communities. New York: Bootstrap Press, 1996.

A comprehensive overview of existing green city infrastructures around the world.

Planning for Energy Descent

Some time in the next 30 years, life will start to become very different from what it is now. By mid-century we will use much less energy; we will live every aspect of our life much closer to home; and we will be much poorer in material terms, because energy and wealth are basically the same thing in an industrial society.

Energy descent β€” a radical reduction in our use of energy β€” is certain, but it’s not clear yet which of several factors will cause it to begin. Perhaps we will decide to do the right thing about climate change and reduce our CO2 emissions 80 or 90 percent, which would require changes almost that large in our actual consumption of energy. And there are other ways we might experience a radical reduction in our use of energy; for example, economic collapse, or an expanded war in the middle east. But the factor that makes energy descent a sure thing and sets the theme for this century is "peak oil" β€” the leveling off of global oil production and then its eventual and inexorable decline.

The timing of the peak is debatable, with forecasts ranging from 2005 (that is, already here) to 2030. But most credible estimates agree with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which concluded in a recent study that "world oil production is at or near its peak," and with the director of research at OPEC, who said recently that "we are at, or near, the production peak of world oil, if not on the downward slope."

After the peak, the growing gap between falling world oil production and ever-increasing global demand will send prices skyward, with economic results that can only be imagined but will certainly include greatly restricted mobility due to the high cost of fuel and much higher prices for most goods, including food. The result will be less disposable income, a life lived closer to home, and a greater reliance on the goods and services that can be provided locally. Since the supply of oil and other fossil fuels is finite, this outcome is guaranteed. The only question is, Shall we plan for what we can see coming, or just let it happen to us?

A group of area citizens, TCLocal, has begun planning now. TCLocal contributors are committed to researching various aspects of energy descent in Tompkins County and writing up a preliminary plan for each aspect based on purely local challenges and resources. This is one such plan.

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