People who live in compact, traditional towns have far smaller environmental footprints than those who live in sprawling suburbs. So why are we in thrall to urban sprawl? Are there better ways of getting about than by car? And how can 60 million people crammed into a small island find ways of treating it with respect?
Urban sprawl is unsustainable in an age of climate change and peak oil. But for 100 years the UK's planning policies have been based on ideals of low-density living and attitudes that favour the individual over community, creating car-dependent lifestyles and destroying the countryside we love. This book explains what we must do to improve the quality of life in our overcrowded land.
Smart Growth argues that we should look to America - a country that embraced urban sprawl and car dependency on a far grander scale than we ever did, and is now finding answers to the problem. Its `Smart Growth' movement is steering a course towards better-designed, compact cities and rail-based transit systems, thereby restoring communities ruined by decades of suburban insularity.
Jon Reeds is a long-established environmental journalist currently specialising in planning and regeneration. With a career spanning local government, specialist magazines and freelance writing, he has worked alongside and written about planners and transport planners for nearly 40 years, long enough to observe the emergence of modern environmentalism and their very mixed response to its demands. He has been involved with both local civic societies and national environmental groups. In 2006 he helped found Smart Growth UK, a national coalition engaged in promoting Smart Growth principles as a way of bringing a strong sustainable development ethos into the way we plan spatial development, transport and communities. He has convened its Steering Group and this book derives in part from its work and partly from his own experiences. He lives in London with his family.
Introduction Part I - How we got here 1 A squandered land 2 The germination of a bad idea 3 Decline and sprawl - a century of spatial planning 4 The death and life of great British cities 5 Travelling hopelessly - a century of unsustainable transport [there is more after this page break - may not display at first view of table!] Part II - Where we are 6 An unsustainable communities plan 7 Climate change and other future challenges 8 America - land of dreams Part III - Where we need to be 9 Care and maintenance for a small country - Smart Growth planning 10 Care and maintenance of the countryside 11 Smart Growth transport 12 From consumers to citizens 13 News from Somewhere: a Smart Growth vision 14 Conclusions: urban rides References