what we need is a new lifestyle, not a new fuel for the old lifestyle

social and cultural geography, sustainable design — By on May 22, 2010 at 8:48 am

James Howard Kunstler: The tragedy of suburbia


James Howard Kunstler is one of the most acerbic critics of American suburbia and the waste of resources it represents. His critique of a landscape made for automobiles started with his two books “Home from Nowhere” and “Geography of Nowhere” which analyzed urban sprawl, the vapidity and lack of charm it represented, and its failure to build a sense of community and cohesion and a place people could feel attached to.
Another book “The Long Emergency” focused attention on the slow but inevitable depletion of energy resources that will bring an end to the age of what he calls “Happy Motoring”, a life style of dependency on cars and consumerism set in a landscape of box stores, fast food joints, amusement parks, the endless parking lots and bland architecture that shapes them.
His latest work, “World Made by Hand” finally envisions a New England /northern New York state type of environment where depletion of resources and lack of abundant energy compel people to live scaled-down lives and produce their daily needs locally.
Kuntler is equally critical of well-intentioned environmentalists and alternative energy enthusiasts; no combination of alternative “green energies” can be available as cheaply and abundantly as fossil fuel was during the twentieth century, we cannot keep powering box stores, cheap goods shipped around the world and endless driving to the mall to buy them with new sources of fuel, it’s time to scale down, live locally and develop neighborhoods for people, not cars.

Kunstler’s weekly blog can be read at www.kunstler.com
He has a weekly podcast at www.kunstlercast.com
This post is by guest blogger Hormoz Nabili
for Subtle Technologies Festival

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