Reposted. New York Times today: Rethinking the Country Life As Energy Costs Rise

Though Mr. Boyle finds city life unappealing, it is now up for reconsideration.

“Living closer in, in a smaller space, where you don’t have that commute,” he said. “It’s definitely something we talk about. Before it was ‘we spend too much time driving.’ Now, it’s ‘we spend too much time and money driving.’ ”

Posted 6/23 under Urban Dynamics, at the Lakewood Observer Observation Deck. (It waits for the moderator’s approval.)

…return of the inner ring. If you scratch out a calculation of the difference between driving a sixty mile round trip to work in a 15mpg guzzler and a twenty mile round trip in a 30mpg compact car, the difference in monetary overhead is obvious.

Although employment is widely distributed in NEO, living close to work offers a premium as far as overhead goes that over time may begin to amplify the advantages of living closer to the work site.

I’ll be tracking this issue. It may start to become apparent that there might be a ‘critical mass’ point at which time the inner ring becomes the place to live simply as a matter of the cost of commuting. Also, I do not know, (but could find out!) if a 5,000+ sq.ft Mcmansion is cheaper to climate control than a 50+ year old legacy <3,000 sq.ft, but there too is an opportunity to retrofit or otherwise modernize with the purpose of cutting householder overhead.

(I’ve long maintained that communitarian efforts to help people live within their means at all levels is a hidden factor in stabilizing and sustaining [a city and] civic benefits.)

See also
Christopher Williams: The Per Gallon Cost of White Flight (TPM Cafe)

I offer that high fuel costs and other energy dependent costs will have the effect of bringing people –first at the level of the local community–together to do problem solving. This prospect seems apparent when I play out various scenarios. I’m reminded the pioneers circled the wagons and this was a communal act.

It follows from this idea that processes of social isolation, territoriality, suburban status seeking, and what I would term the situation posing everybody in their own lifeboat, are each related and dynamic consequences of cheap energy.

(Of course Ivan Illich pointed this out in different terms a long time ago.)

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