Land use glossary

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

Big box
Large corporate chain store such as Wal-Mart
Bikeway or bike street
Bicycle route or trail such as the waterfront trail
Carbon footprint
Calculation of the amount of carbon emissions
Carbon neutral
Total release of carbon is balanced with the amount sequestered
Intensive collaborative design session involving small groups of stakeholders and intended to promote joint ownership of solutions
Conservation village
New village developments which seek to build ecological neighborhoods while preserving farm land and wild land
A system of participatory bottom-up democracy to make decisions within the neighborhood or village and facilitate grassroots education. Idea comes from the consultas of the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
Model of food production, sales, and distribution aimed at both increasing the quality of food and the quality of care given the land, plants, and animals while substantially reducing potential food losses and financial risks for the producers
District heating
System for distributing heat generated in a centralized location for residential and commercial heating
Ecological neighborhood
Park using ecological landscape features to reduce watering and maintnence while enchancing wildlife and human values
Ecological city
Fixed rail transit
Transit on rails such as PRT (personal rapid transit or pod cars), light rail, trolleys, or heavy rail
Green street
Car-free street dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle traffic featuring eco-parks, ecological landscaping, and intersection repairs
Belt of forest plantings and natural woodland surrounding a city and used for recreation, fuel wood, and agroforestry
Greywater systems
Systems which redirect used wastewater from bathtubs or sinks away from sewer systems, through various filtration, cleaning, and aeration systems, then into the landscape for the purpose of irrigation
Development which fills in underutilized urban space such as large parking lots or vacant areas
Keyline design
Technique for maximizing beneficial use of water resources of a piece of land. See Yeomans, P. A., Water for every farm: A practical irrigation plan for every Australian property. K.G. Murray Publishing Company, Pty, Ltd, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia (1973)
Limited auto access neighborhood
Neighborhood featuring traffic calming features, traffic barriers, and enhanced pedestrian environments
Neighborhood CSA
Urban farm based in or near the neighborhood and run by neighborhood residents
Nodal development
Development pattern consisting of urban centers or villages situated along transit corridors
Design system which seeks to create harmony between human needs and ecological ones; usally refers to gardening and farming techniques
Personal rapid transit (PRT) or podcar
A public transportation concept that offers on-demand non-stop transportation, using small, independent vehicles on a network of specially-built guideways
An open public square in the city
Transfer of development rights
Transferring the development rights away from one piece of land such as farms or historic buildings in order preserve them and allow developers to build in a prefered area
The grassy area between the sidewalk and the street
A plaza or public square
Zones of use, zone 1 occuring closest to the house or settlement with the most frequent use and maintnence, and zone 5 being farther out and reserved for nature to remain in a wild state

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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