The local zoning and building codes had evolved to mandate that outcome by law. The separation of uses became more extreme: The new laws for handicapped access had the unintended consequence of heavily discouraging buildings over one story. The tragic part was that suburban sprawl was a living arrangement with no future.
The oil crises of the 70s had portended that, but both the zoning codes and the cultural conditioning over-rode that warning. It was based on the formula: The role of banking in the economy was straightforward: That bit of mischief led to the crash of This chain of events entailed an unprecedented growth of debt at all levels of society household, corporate, government such that the obligations eventually outstripped any plausible prospect of repayment.
Something very sinister and largely unacknowledged lay behind it. And behind that was the fact that the world had run out of affordable petroleum. Quite a quandary, totally unacknowledged in the public discourse. It could be boiled down to a simple equation: I elaborate on these arcane matters because it is fundamental to understand that the root cause for the sputtering of economic growth is that the primary resource needed for creating it oil has exceeded our ability to pay for it — and despite all the wishful thinking, there is no alt-energy rescue remedy to replace it.
The result will be a collapse of our complex systems and a re-set of human activity to a lower and simpler level. How disorderly the process gets remains to be seen, and where it stops is as yet unknown. But it will have everything to do with how human life organizes itself on-the-ground, and therefore with the future of our cities.
One can state categorically that the colossal metroplex cities of today are going to have to contract, probably substantially. They have attained a scale that no plausible disposition of economy looking ahead can sustain. This is contrary, by the way, to most of the reigning utopian or even dystopian fantasies which, any way you cut them, only presume An ever-greater scale of everything. This is what brought us all the renovated neighborhoods, the scores of new residential skyscrapers, the multiplication of museums and cultural venues, and the buffing up of Central Park.
It will be followed by a steep and harrowing descent into disinvestment. Apart from that unnerving prospect, it must be said that the recent rediscovery of city life in America, per se, was a positive thing, given the decades-long experiment with automobile suburbia. Notice, though, that the revival of cosmopolitan life mainly took place in those cities connected by some degree to the financialized economy: It was also unfortunate that few small cities and towns benefited from the re-urbanization movement.
Most cities are located where they are because they occupy important geographical sites. New York has its excellent deep water harbor and the Hudson River estuary. These outstanding amenities were enhanced later with canal connections to the Great Lakes and the St. San Francisco and Boston, ditto great harbors.
Detroit stands on a strategic river between two Great lakes. There are sure to be some kind of human settlements in these places as long as people are around, though they may be very different in scale and character from what we have known them to be.
Detroit will probably never again be the colossus it was in but something will occupy that stretch of river. On the other hand, the techno-industrial economy allowed cities to develop rapidly in places in that lacked outstanding natural features.
Places like Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, and much of Southern California may become uninhabitable without cheap air-conditioning-for-all, a viable automobile-based transport system, and the ability to produce food locally.
Orlando may decline out of sheer irrelevance when its theme park economy withers. Just about everything in our world is going to have to get smaller, finer, and also more local. The failure of suburbia is pretty plain to see, and its trajectory is not hard to understand. But do not assume that there will necessarily be a great demographic rush into the big cities as suburbia fails. The big cities will have enormous trouble with their aging infrastructure — the year-old water and sewer systems, the stupendous hierarchies of paved roads, the bridges, and tunnels, etc.
The American electric grid is decrepit and the estimate for fixing it alone runs greater than a trillion dollars. The cities will also have problems with the debt-based promises of support for public employees and dependent underclass populations.
These places will have to contract around their old centers and their waterfronts, if they have them. The process will entail the loss of vast amounts of notional wealth represented in buildings and real estate.
It may provoke ethnic battles between groups fighting over who gets to occupy the districts that retain value. New York City and Chicago face an additional problem: Our society does not know it yet, but the skyscraper is already an obsolete building form, and for a reason generally unrecognized: They have no capacity for adaptive re-use.
The capital will not be there to renovate things at the giant scale at which they were originally built. It might seem to be a humble material, but it actually requires very long and sophisticated mining and manufacturing chains, and it may be assuming too much that these supply chains will continue to operate in the years ahead. The same can be said of steel beams and trusses, aluminum sashes, metallic and enamel claddings, plate glass, concrete block, cement, plastic or metal pipe, silicon gaskets, plywood, etc.
In short, these enormous buildings, now considered assets will quickly turn into liabilities. This outcome is unrecognized largely because under current conditions the professionals involved — developers and architects — cannot resist the temptation to maximize the floor-to-area ratio of any given urban building lot. Why stop at six stories when the zoning law allows sixty? But in the future, a new consensus may eventually form that the scale and height of new buildings must be a lot more modest.
By the way, central Paris is still mostly composed of buildings under seven stories, without detracting from its cosmopolitan verve. In the future, we may decide that the maximum building height is keyed to the number of stories you can ask people to walk up comfortably. A related issue, however, is also not generally recognized: Also known as deconstructing the rights of real estate , this experimental system, in which ownership is portioned out among individual apartment dwellers, and managed under a corporate property-owners association, has only been tried on a mass basis since the s.
It takes only partial failure of a condominium building — apartment owners defaulting on their mortgages and failing to pay association dues — for the property association to fail, meaning that afterward there will be little maintenance and repair of the building.
Do not assume that our current financial arrangements have resilience. Like other elements of this story, they seemed like a good idea at the time. And then times change. I would introduce the perhaps jarring idea that the locus of settlement in the USA is headed for an even more striking change, namely that the action is going to shift to the small cities and the small towns, especially places that exist in a meaningful relationship to food production.
These places are currently the most derelict and disinvested in the nation. I would argue that they are about to regain importance. For one thing, the global economy is unwinding. It never was a permanent installation in the human condition, contrary to what Tom Friedman said in his books and newspaper columns. That global economy was the product of special circumstances, namely a hundred years of super-cheap energy, and about seventy years of relative peace between the major powers of the world.
Those conditions are now ending, and the transient globalized economic relations that flourished under them — the chain of products moving from the factories of Asia to the Wal Marts of America — are coming to a close. The economy of North America will be much more internally-focused in the years ahead. We will have to rely much more on what we can produce closer to home, and that production is sure to be at lower level than what we are used to. Places like Cincinnati, Louisville, and Memphis will regain importance, though probably not gigantic scale.
Do not assume that the trucking industry will continue to function, or that we will make the necessary reinvestment in our existing rail lines. Do not assume that any models of our current commercial system will continue as we know them, including national chain shopping, the supermarket method of food distribution, or contemporary banking.
Suspend all your assumptions about our ability to continue the familiar arrangements of the present day. In fact, I think we are likely to lose many of the technological advances that we have come to take for granted, starting with the ubiquity of the Internet — which depends, after all, on a completely reliable electric grid. We are heading into a contraction of techno-industrial activity and probably an eventual contraction of population. We have to make things smaller, more local, and finer.
Likewise, I think the American public fails to see the probable arc of the current story. We are expecting nothing except more technological magic, and that is sure to leave a lot of people disappointed. Borrowing from the future in so many ways indeed! I relocated to one of the small towns you mention a number of years ago. Low energy such as farming with horses , while an environmental improvement, also means uncompetitive where others see no reason to work in this manner.
Just hope I can hold out long enough to see its value come to fruition. However, our use of fossil fuels is actually borrowing from the past … from million years ago. Pell, in a borough named for a Swedish man, Jonas Bronck, and ride the train down into Manhattan, which is unusual in the city for retaining an indigenous name the Bronx was said to be named Rananchqua by the local Lenape, Keskeskeck by other native groups. A horde of dead men with live identities haunt New York City and almost every city in the Western world.
Their names are on the streets, buildings, parks, squares, colleges, businesses, and banks, and their figures are on the monuments. For example, at Fifty-ninth and Grand Army Plaza, right by the Pulitzer Fountain for the newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer , is a pair of golden figures: The biggest statue in the city is a woman, who welcomes everyone and is no one: But those memories are as frail and fleeting as chalk, not as lasting as street names, bronze statues, the Henry Hudson Bridge building, or the Frick mansion.
A recent essay by Allison Meier notes that there are only five statues of named women in New York City: Until , there was only one, the medieval Joan in Riverside Park, installed in Before that, only men were commemorated in the statuary of New York City.
A few women have been memorialized in relatively recent street names: No woman is a bridge or a major building, though some may remember that Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney is the founder for whom the museum is named.
New York City is, like most cities, a manscape. For men, the theatres are playing dozens of male-action-hero films now, and television has always given you a superabundance of champions, from cowboys to detectives, more or less like you, at least when it comes to gender if not necessarily race and body type and predilection.
Of course, these sites commemorate only those who were allowed to hold power and live in public; most American cities are, by their nomenclature, mostly white as well as mostly male.
A city has metalled roads with bus or train services for easy travelling. It supplies potable water through a network of pipelines and electricity to its residents. There is a .
The City Essay is the first place where students share their vision of their future city. They will write a 1,word essay describing the unique attributes of their city and their solution to the challenge: Powering Our Future.
City life has got to be one of the most exciting places to live. Many people seem to think city life is too fast paced or too fake for them to enjoy a city life. Living in the city for me seems to be one of the most exciting places to be. Hearing all of the hustle and bustle going on out side of my /5(5). Sometime you may be think, the city life is better than village life. However there are so many advantages in city life. Actually the city life is more comfortable.
Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. You can view samples of our professional work here. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do. My City Essay. I live in exswatgd.cf is a very big and busy city. It is on banks of the river Sabarmati. My city has many best schools, colleges and universities.