$250 for a tank of gas
October 24, 2011, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Cities, density, economy | Tags: , , , ,

Kalle Lasn is the man who started the occupy wall street movement from his editor’s desk at AdBusters in Vancouver.  Here is his vision concerning the built environment.  Our environment is built upon air – debt and deferral called externalities by economists.  Lasn’s vision is to reinduct these externalities into our budgets once again.  This will have a painful effect:  costs will skyrocket in those areas of our built world that are least efficient and were built on the most externalities.  These are mostly exurban and sprawling environments.  However the result environment based on density and public transport will be worth it.

The one thing he doesn’t talk about is lessening the pain during the transition phase.  I believe the way we do this is to make sure city living is affordable.  One of the reasons people in America especially, but also in many other places, live outside of cities is that they are preyed upon by land and space speculators.  Life in cities is unaffordable because we have all but abandoned the idea of regulating these forms of speculation.  Rent control and other incentives for constructing and selling affordable residential and commercial spaces in cities are essential to ease the process of moving away from government subsidized sprawl to building healthy and productive cities.

Here is Lasn’s vision:

Then we phase in the true cost of driving. We add on the environmental cost of the carbon our cars emit, the cost of building and maintaining roads, the medical costs of accidents, the noise and the aesthetic degradation caused by urban sprawl and maybe even the military cost of protecting those crucial oil fields and oil tanker supply lines. Your private automobile will cost you around $100,000 and a tank of gas $250. You’re still free to drive all you want, but instead of passing the costs on to future generations, you pay upfront. This would force us to reinvent the way we get around. Demand for monorails, bullet trains, subways and streetcars would surge. We would demand more bike lanes and pedestrian paths and car-free urban centers. And gradually a paradigm shift in urban planning would transform urban life.

A New Kind of Global Marketplace, Kalle Lasn


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