Better late, than never! Monday flew by, thus this post has been delayed.
- How many people does Steffen estimate we will have living in or near cities by mid-century?
Steffen estimates that about 8 billion, perhaps more people living in or near cities.
- Explain how you agree or disagree with Steffen’s point that our energy use is “predestined” rather than “behavioral”.
I disagree that our energy is predestined. If one lives in a dense city, one isn’t automatically going to use less energy. For example those who live in more rural areas, where the city is less dense, aren’t going to use more energy. They might even use less because rather than using fuel and driving 5-15 miles to the closest grocery store, they may provide for themselves with their own farm or local farm.
- What correlation does Steffen make between a city’s density and its climate emissions?
Steffen correlated that denser places have lower emissions. Through this, things that are needed are close by, and lives are instantly more sustainable.
- What are the “eco districts” that Steffen mentions? How you see these as feasible or unfeasible in a city like Norfolk?
Eco districts are neighborhoods that sustain themselves. Ways these may uprise are through infill development and urban retrofitting. This is very feasible in a city like Norfolk. For example, in the city of Ghent, many people already walk to and from work and to their place of worship. This is because many Orthadox Jews live in the area. If these people can make their living and support themselves where driving isn’t necessary, the city may change it’s ways everywhere.
- Explain how you agree or disagree with the “threshold effect” that Steffen discusses related to transportation.
The threshold effect is where people stop driving as much and people eventually give up their cars all together. They create a “walkshed life,” if you will. I agree with the “threshold effect” because it is clear that it has occurred in multiple cities. The first city that comes to mind is Manhattan, New York. Few people own cars who live in the city because walking and public transportation is so available. Thus, most citizens fail to buy a car because life is easier without it.
- What does Steffen mean by the idea that, “…even space itself is turning into a service…”? Can you provide any examples that you see here in Norfolk or elsewhere?
Steffen means that people can share the same space and make vacant space useful. An example of this occurring in Norfolk is on 21st street. There are shops on ground level and since space is limited, apartments have developed above the shops.
- Describe your understanding of Steffen’s argument that, “…it’s not about the leaves above, but the systems below…”.
Steffen refers to a picture of greenery planted on the rooftops of skyscrapers. He conveys that the buildings must be built in such a way that they assist the environment. Some of his examples include: capturing rainwater, taking carbon out of the air, and providing a “greener” infrastructure.
- Finally, overall in what way(s) do you see Steffen’s ideas working / not working here in Norfolk? Spend time with this question!
Steffen’s ideas could work in Norfolk because Norfolk is a very elastic city. This is because it is constantly changing so much that it is flexible to new ideas and growth. An example is the new development of the light rail. This form of public transportation allows for more people to give up driving to work and around the city, it is energy efficient, and emits fewer harsh particles into the air than multiple cars would.