The ecological damage of urban sprawl?


karrie
#1
I had a friend who was bitching a while ago about the damage that 'urban sprawl' does to the environment. I nearly choked on my coffee. And since hearing this, I've realized it's a notion a lot of people have... that large urban centers are more hard on the environment than having everyone living on acreages.

ARGH!!!

Just because you can see all the people and factories, doesn't mean it's worse for the environment. Frankly, the kindest thing you can do is probably to live in a city. One road to lead to 50 people, instead of 50 roads to lead to them. Public transit, instead of having to drive long distances all the time. Plus, it's bad enough that cities eat into prime farm land, but acreages... each person eating up 5 acres of farm land instead of a city lot.

Taking an environmental problem (people), and spreading them out so that you can't see as much of the problem, makes no real ecological sense.

Okay, rant over.
 
Tonington
#2
Interesting topic Karrie.

At the very heart of modern civilization are two premises. The first is that we can grow enough food and collect enough water to support very large, very dense populations that perform tasks other than providing their own food and water. The second, is that we live in large enough groups that can support great institutions. For example, a town of 10,000 people will not likely have the same access to healthcare as a city of 100,000.

The problem with these urban centers is their reliance on favourable conditions, much more so than small communities. Take Atlanta for example. The drought they're experiencing got so bad, that the city was down to 30 days notice or something like that, of running out of water. Not only do the citizens rely on that water, but the industry that employs them and allows them to purchase food relies on that same water. Smaller communities can cut back their usage with greater ease than large urban centers with such a complex issue such as resource allocation and demand.

The depletion of resources has been a key factor in the demise of large, literate and sophisticated societies. If you think of the city as part of the surrounding ecosystem, it's like a population of ants that continues to grow. Now in nature ants are controlled by carrying capacity. But humans have discovered ways to effectively outstrip the immediate carrying capacity by shipping resources large distances. Integration into the global economy allows this to happen. Consider that Australia, the most urbanized nation on the planet. This is only possible by drawing on resources from a very broad region, even while they experience nasty drought conditions.

The problem though, is eventually brought back to fundamental ecological principles. Water, is effectively our single greatest limiting resource. As cities grow, so does the demand. At some point, tough decisions have to be made. Those cities in Australia like Perth and Sydney sit on the precipice and the mitigation of these circumstances becomes very costly. Though in reality, that situation would still be a harsh reality for rural people.

Ultimately, I think the issue of sustainability will have to be looked at more in depth. Urban dwellings that can provide power, roof-tops and growing space in atrium's that can provide food, utilization of grey water for irrigation and heat recovery, etc. If you think about it, a city is more like a tree than an animal. It has deep roots, and cannot move when trouble arises.

To me, the key will be smart planning that includes more emphasis on ecological principles, rather than those that move cities away from these issues. I think building up is better than building out. Mass transit is more efficient than the rural family who each drive their cars to the grocery store.

If these issues are dealt with properly, I don't see why cities can't be an improvement. I remember reading somewhere, that despite the large size of New York city, the impact of each citizen was smaller than the national average. Perhaps I'll go look for that now.
 
lone wolf
#3
Look at GTA. 100 acres of the best farmland in Ontario vanishes every day. Urban sprawl is land cancer.

Woof!
 
karrie
#4
Yeah, but put all those people on acreages wolf, and you'd have 500 acres a day or more disappearing so putzy metropolitan people can have a manicured 5 acre lawn. Plus whatever would be eaten up building roads to the new acreages. There are people. They have to go somewhere.
 
karrie
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

To me, the key will be smart planning that includes more emphasis on ecological principles, rather than those that move cities away from these issues. I think building up is better than building out. Mass transit is more efficient than the rural family who each drive their cars to the grocery store.

If these issues are dealt with properly, I don't see why cities can't be an improvement. I remember reading somewhere, that despite the large size of New York city, the impact of each citizen was smaller than the national average. Perhaps I'll go look for that now.

Smart planning seems to be on the rise with many cities. Urban gardens, water recycling.... there are tons of initiatives going on to try to deal with the restrictive nature of living in a city. Frankly, I think some cities are probably more diversified in what they would have access to as far as resources in a crisis, than some rural centers are due to the lack of diversification in many farming communities. I know if crisis struck in the farming community where I grew up and suddenly for some reason we weren't receiving outside supplies, we'd be trying to live on rape and beef. Perhaps a bit of oats, but mostly, rape and beef.
 
Praxius
#6


As I see it, the more concentrated our population and development is in one area, the more concentrated the pollution is, thereby the surrounding area can not absorb or filter all the pollution like what could be done with our population spread out more, with more trees and plantlife surrounding to help absorb CO2 and the like.

With large concentrations as this, that pollution can travel farther in the globe and cause more damage.

I would think continual Smog alerts, cancer rates and the sort would relate.

Technically if you spread us out or not, wouldn't change the level of pollution we would disperse, but if you spread it out, you widen the mass, making it less concentrated, and nature would be able to filter it a little better imo.

The only benifit of cities, is that everything is in close proximity and can sometimes save money.... but not the planet. Sure that means less roads and travel, but don't forget, when cities get bigger, the roads need to also get bigger, or else we end up with traffic jams at rush hour. Then you widen and add more roads and then you have more cars driving them back and forth from work to home and then end up having more pollution then before.
Last edited by Praxius; Jan 15th, 2008 at 03:18 PM..
 
Unforgiven
#7
Pack them into a box so you can easily utilize them and then the turn around and just want to be off by themselves. People, go figure!
 
lone wolf
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

Yeah, but put all those people on acreages wolf, and you'd have 500 acres a day or more disappearing so putzy metropolitan people can have a manicured 5 acre lawn. Plus whatever would be eaten up building roads to the new acreages. There are people. They have to go somewhere.

What's wrong with halting outer growth and leaving producing farms as producing farms? All those putzy people gotta eat don't they?

Woof!
 
Praxius
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

What's wrong with halting outer growth and leaving producing farms as producing farms? All those putzy people gotta eat don't they?

Woof!

Give them the cloned food... then in 10 years, it'll be just like the future in the 70's where everything will be in pills.
 
karrie
#10
cloned food isn't magic food. a cloned animal still takes space and requires feed. Plus, a lab rather than just letting the animals at it in the pen. Seems like they'd need more infrastructure and complicate the problem. lol.
 
Praxius
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

cloned food isn't magic food. a cloned animal still takes space and requires feed. Plus, a lab rather than just letting the animals at it in the pen. Seems like they'd need more infrastructure and complicate the problem. lol.

Well why don't they step up their thinking a little and go right to what we're doing with creating new skin tissue and organs from cloning blood cells, stem cells, etc.?

Just cook a steak and clone it, lol. Save a lot of money that way. Then BAM! Star Trek Replicators. We already have hyposprays, cell phones, um.... I dunno, go watch the Shatner thing on Discovery sometime. :P
 
karrie
#12
Someone did post an article a while back about a 'meat machine' which would culture meat. Apparently it's been successful in a lab. *shrugs* but I can't see it being much more economical to use the electricity to create a little bit of meat, rather than just raise cattle.
 
Gonzo
#13
Ottawa is a good example of bad urban planning. We're building all these suburbs with giant houses and two car garages in the middle of nowhere. Then these people have to drive into the city center to work. We don't have any public transit to speak of because our idiot of a mayor doesn't have a plan. We build our hockey arena (Scotiabank place) in the middle of nowhere and all our fans have to drive or take a bus to go see a game. When tourist come to Ottawa and ask where they can see a Senators game we tell them to take two buses out to the outskirts of Kanata.
What should be done is instead of building these communities outside the city are to build more apartments and condominiums in the city. And better public transit. Ottawa has failed at this. We have Stittsville, Kanata, Barhaven, St. Laurent, and Gloucester, all surrounding the city. And we have no light rail, subway, or streetcars. All we have is a bad bus service.
 
Praxius
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

Someone did post an article a while back about a 'meat machine' which would culture meat. Apparently it's been successful in a lab. *shrugs* but I can't see it being much more economical to use the electricity to create a little bit of meat, rather than just raise cattle.

Time is money. If you can clone a steak, you can skip the feeding and growing of a cow, not to mention the long term pay of scientists or farmers to keep them going.

Clone the steak, wrap it up, and place them right beside the Maple Leaf Bacon you can cook in 5 seconds.

And then technically the vegans won't be able to complain and moan about killing animals. And then they could eat meat again. It wasn't made from an animal, it was made in a lab. Then a machine beside your microwave.

Tea... Earl Gray, Hot!

*BzzzwweerrzzzzzOoooooo*

*Sips*

Computa, play song...

*Beep'itty'boop*

Come!

Captain

Yes Nuber One......

Wait, where the hell did I go there?
Last edited by Praxius; Jan 15th, 2008 at 09:28 PM..
 
Tonington
#15
Lol, where no one has gone before.
 
karrie
#16
yeah right... we can't even make a microwave that works effectively.
 
Praxius
#17
You gotta goto a yard sale and get one made before 1988. I don't know what year mine is, and the rotating thing no long works, but it still makes my food nice and hot. And the nice crisp gleaming green skin layer is really tasty.

I bought a new one a while back. Not only did it not cook anything decently and you ended up having to double or triple to time described, but it also burnt out after a couple of years. And did I have to mention, No Green Skin? Geez people. What's next? My Hydronated Mozza sticks? Oh wait.

But seriously, check out the older ones. That may sound unsafe, but they cook good.

Then again, you never know who's cat was in it last.
 
jenn
#18
ewww... but so true!!! I got my first one in 96... and I loved it..apricot brandy... lol..another story.... but it worked wonderfull.. took up half my counter.. but wow...this piddly *** one I have now is crap.... small... noisey.. and no.....I won't replace it...we just bought it....
 
karrie
#19
Apparently the key is to go to an APPLIANCE store to buy one, rather than Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's ones are made for reheating, not cooking. I remember the one we got when they first came out, and it was for cooking. It had a turkey setting for pete's sake.
 
jenn
#20
mine did too!! I think the make was Candle or something like that....
 
Lester
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by PraxiusView Post

Time is money. If you can clone a steak, you can skip the feeding and growing of a cow, not to mention the long term pay of scientists or farmers to keep them going.

Clone the steak, wrap it up, and place them right beside the Maple Leaf Bacon you can cook in 5 seconds.

And then technically the vegans won't be able to complain and moan about killing animals. And then they could eat meat again. It wasn't made from an animal, it was made in a lab. Then a machine beside your microwave.

Tea... Earl Gray, Hot!

*BzzzwweerrzzzzzOoooooo*

*Sips*

Computa, play song...

*Beep'itty'boop*

Come!

Captain

Yes Nuber One......

Wait, where the hell did I go there?

You just summed up the openings to 50% of all stng episodes good accent too!
 
Lester
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

Apparently the key is to go to an APPLIANCE store to buy one, rather than Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's ones are made for reheating, not cooking. I remember the one we got when they first came out, and it was for cooking. It had a turkey setting for pete's sake.

LOL be here in 15 minutes for dinner, just put the bird in the nuke YUM
 
karrie
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by LesterView Post

LOL be here in 15 minutes for dinner, just put the bird in the nuke YUM

My mom used to do tons of cooking in the old microwave. My family owned an appliance store, and she'd cook meals for people at trade fairs even. Her garlic dry ribs were to die for. She rocked at cooking in that thing. Never did try a turkey though.
 
Praxius
#24
Man if you want a super microwave, steal one from the Deli Dept in Sobeys. While working night shift back in the day the crew decided to grab a box of ribs from the freezers to have for our lunch, popped the whole thing in the mic, and I don't think it was anymore then 60 second and the frigging things were fried pretty crispy, straight from being frozen.
 
Nuggler
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by GonzoView Post

Ottawa is a good example of bad urban planning. We're building all these suburbs with giant houses and two car garages in the middle of nowhere. Then these people have to drive into the city center to work. We don't have any public transit to speak of because our idiot of a mayor doesn't have a plan. We build our hockey arena (Scotiabank place) in the middle of nowhere and all our fans have to drive or take a bus to go see a game. When tourist come to Ottawa and ask where they can see a Senators game we tell them to take two buses out to the outskirts of Kanata.
What should be done is instead of building these communities outside the city are to build more apartments and condominiums in the city. And better public transit. Ottawa has failed at this. We have Stittsville, Kanata, Barhaven, St. Laurent, and Gloucester, all surrounding the city. And we have no light rail, subway, or streetcars. All we have is a bad bus service.

Right on Gonzo: And too bad. The light rail "plan" (chuckles to self) has fallen flat twice now, and probably never will see daylight.

Unowhat!! We used to have trains running from Ottywaw to Kemptville to Chesterville, and beyond. The system was there, and the hub was the old Union (?) Station. They mothballed the works years ago. This was not 'light' rail, but come on, how hard can it be when most of the infrastructure is in place. Bureaucrats can make it hard. Just as hard as one can imagine.

This is what ya get when you try to figure it out..........

A city that was going to spend over 400,000. bucks to house swans. Thank god that got tanked. People phoned in and volunteered to takem for 5000 a year, house them in a barn with a pool, clean water, and put em back in the spring..........Jesus H Christ.

Don't even get me started on parking fees.....................

Common sense went out the window when Charlotte Whitten died.

Frig this, I"m goin to look at cartoons..........

 
Said1
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by GonzoView Post

Ottawa is a good example of bad urban planning. We're building all these suburbs with giant houses and two car garages in the middle of nowhere. Then these people have to drive into the city center to work. We don't have any public transit to speak of because our idiot of a mayor doesn't have a plan. We build our hockey arena (Scotiabank place) in the middle of nowhere and all our fans have to drive or take a bus to go see a game. When tourist come to Ottawa and ask where they can see a Senators game we tell them to take two buses out to the outskirts of Kanata.
What should be done is instead of building these communities outside the city are to build more apartments and condominiums in the city. And better public transit. Ottawa has failed at this. We have Stittsville, Kanata, Barhaven, St. Laurent, and Gloucester, all surrounding the city. And we have no light rail, subway, or streetcars. All we have is a bad bus service.


What are you talking about? There are condos/apartments going up everywhere east of Bayshore. The bus service is fine, but expensive - get an eco pass for almost half the monthly cost. The 'train' kind of sucks, but it gets me to Carleton U in LESS than 4 minutes, not bad.

What's this plan you speak of? Our mayor wasn't in office when the O-train, or the transit-way was in the planning stages. Whatelse is he supposed to do as far as OC transpo is concerned - more buses, more buses more frequently? What's he allowed to spend on public transit, given the state of the city budget? Keep in mind, I grew up in Bells Corners and haven't driven a day in my life. I do know about suburban bus th service than I'd care to, in the ares you mentioned above.

The arena is hardly in the middle of no where, although rapid transit to games and concert would be a big plus (like they during Ex) Where else, in the city, could it have been built?

Do we live in the same city?
 

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