If Seattle got cheaper, the planet might get cooler

Yesterday, BeyondChron had an interesting piece about the connection between climate change and affordable housing. Some excerpts:

Despite the media focusing largely on climate change strategies like ethanol and composting, combating sprawl appears to be one of the efforts offering the most bang for the buck. For starters, cars produce almost a third of the carbon emitted in America. Allowing people to live close to their jobs, grocery stores, parks and schools means dramatically shortened commute times and significantly reduced carbon emissions.

In addition, increasing density means taking advantage of public infrastructure already in place. Rather than extending sewer, water, road and electric [and transit!] systems farther and farther away from the city center, using the already existing systems increases their efficiency and reduces the need for more resources to expand them.


As demand increases for urban housing, costs go up, often dramatically in many places in recent years. While cities may have won the battle in bringing people in, they’ve also succeeded in forcing people out. Low-income and working-class people in cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York keep moving farther and farther away from their jobs, making sprawl worse, not better.

This article is right on time. Growth management must include a strong focus on in-city, affordable housing. Without it, we’ll never create a transit- (or, for that matter, people-) friendly region.