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Our Old Utopia- Suburbia will die when oil rises enough

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120 Million Americans live in Suburbia- their way of Life is under threat




+ The US has 4% of the World's Population and uses 25% of its Oil,

+ The US imports (xx million barrels daily), about half its requirement

+ China imports 30% of its oil requirement, India an astonishing 75%, both rising as demand grows,

+ By 2010, India will have 36 times the cars it had in 1990, China 90 times as many

+ By 2030, China will account for 12% of world oil demand, India 6% (says IEA),

+ By 2030, China will have more cars than the US (says Beijing Energy Research Inst.)




"The suburban lifestyle is considered by many Americans to be an accepted and normal way of life.

But this gluttonous, sprawling, and energy-intensive way of life is simply not sustainable. Few people are aware of how their lives are dependent on cheap and abundant energy. Are these Americans in for a rude awakening? In a fascinating new documentary, "The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream," the central question is this: Does the suburban way of life have a future? The answer is a resounding no." ... more


Suburban living is imbedded in the American consciousness, and much of the UK too.


Called: "greatest misallocation of resources in history"

as America invested all of its post WW2 wealth in a new way of living.


The end of cheap and abundant energy will kill it, and with it, the American way of life.

And those suburban communities in the UK that have copied it, will get hit too.




- - -


Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too has the suburban way of life become embedded in the American consciousness.


Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream.


But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.


The consequences of inaction in the face of this global crisis are enormous. What does Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia ?



preview video : http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5459242714549184261


Here are some related videos


Chauncey Poston : talks about his better neighborhood policies & getting people out of cars

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The End of Suburbia

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream

...is a 2004 documentary film concerning peak oil and its implications on the suburban lifestyle. This film is critical of widespread use of "cheap energy" policies especially in the transportation sector and argues that technological fixes such as biofuels and hydrogen are infeasible. According to the film, a major reorganization of urban land use is needed to decrease transportation; also, some aspects of the global economy will have to be rolled back, such as long-distance shipping of food. Further, this film claims people and organizations will enter a counter-productive and damaging period of denial as the economy restructures to lower energy use.


The documentary features footage from vintage films in the Prelinger Archives, primarily footage depicting the growth of suburbia and the interstate highway system in the United States after World War II.


The film is hosted by Canadian broadcaster Barrie Zwicker and features discussion from James Howard Kunstler, Peter Calthorpe, Michael Klare, Richard Heinberg, Matthew Simmons, Michael C. Ruppert, Julian Darley, Colin Campbell, Kenneth Deffeyes, Ali Samsam Bakhtiari and Steve Andrews. The director is Gregory Greene and the producer is Barry Silverthorn.


@: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_Suburbia


= = =


Running on Empty - The End of Suburbia and the future slums of Irvine

By Greg Stacy

Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:00 am

It is the Southern California of some decades hence. Beneath a sky heavy with the lingering toxins of generations past, Irvine has fallen to ruin. The suburbs have become weedy slums, and streets once bustling with SUVs are now ominously quiet. Food is also in short supply, and desperate people are doing desperate things to feed their families. Is this the plot of some new, postapocalyptic thriller? Don’t we freaking wish. No, this is the far-too-likely future that all of us face. Apocalypse could just be coming to your neighborhood sooner than you think, and it won’t take World War III to make it happen.


With a minimum of lefty hysterics, the new documentary The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream explains how America is about to go all Mad Max on us. The simple truth is we are literally running out of gas.


It isn’t news to most of us that oil is a non-renewable resource. We all remember those scratchy movies they showed us in elementary school in which cheerful cartoon dinosaurs explain the basics of fossil fuels. Many of us are even vaguely aware that fossil fuels are supposed to run out sometime in our lifetimes, but we’ve always assumed the government will cook up some sort of viable alternative fuel before things get really dire. Well, we would do well to remember that the government was supposed to have brought peace to the Middle East by now.


The End of Suburbia explains how hydrogen and ethanol, the two energy sources currently being widely touted as potential replacements for oil, simply won’t be able to keep up with the power demands of the world’s ever-increasing population; in fact, it takes more energy to create hydrogen than you’ll ever get from the stuff. Don’t believe W’s hype: there is really nothing in the works that will keep the world’s engines humming as loudly as oil has, and it’s unlikely we’ll come up with anything that will sustain us in the lifestyle to which we’ve grown accustomed. There will be a time of skyrocketing oil costs, increasingly bloody wars over resources and worldwide economic collapse, and eventually all the oil will dry up and the industrial age will grind to a halt. But hey, at least we won’t have to worry about those long commutes anymore, huh?


Directed by Toronto filmmaker Gregory Greene, who leads a post-screening discussion locally, The End of Suburbia isn’t quite as glum as it perhaps sounds. The film has a certain dark wit, and we’re not left to think humanity’s doom is simply inevitable. We may be on the road to disaster, but at least we’re still in the driver’s seat. A few sensible ideas for how we can possibly save our selves from our gristly fate are presented. These ideas do involve a lot of hard choices, sacrifice and self-control—things we Americans seem to get worse at all the time—but there’s still room for optimism. Perhaps these dire circumstances will force us into that communal utopia the hippies were always babbling about, a new age of healthy, responsible living and consciousness expansion and lots of groovy loose sex. . . .


Hmm. If you need me, I’ll be out in my garage, revving my car’s engine for a few hours. Just doing my part to burn off the last of that dinosaur sludge and get this goddamn Age of Aquarius started already.


The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream was directed by Gregory Greene. It screens at Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church, 1259 Victoria St., Costa Mesa, (949) 646-4652; ocuuc.org; endofsuburbia.com. Wed., 7:30 p.m. Free.

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"many UK suburbanites survive very well without cars"


yes. true


by contrast, the us suburbs are built around cars and huge malls,

making for a cheap and nasty existence of consumerism, rather than neighborhood street life


but americans are waking up to the nightmare they have creating, and starting to change it


= = =


Director Greg Greene speaks about The End of Suburbia


Transcripts: Greg Greene on radio-KPFA's "Against the Grain" (2 August 2004)


In Brief:

As growing numbers of North Americans move to the suburbs, one of the challenges facing policy makers was how to get all these people from their homes to their shopping malls, to their workplaces, and their schools, and back again.


The major American auto manufacturers were powerhouses of industrial might following the Second World War. And they had a plan for the masses. It relied, not surprisingly, on cars as America's future mass transit.

C.S. Soong:

Everyone dreams of having a large house with a large yard, surrounded by a white picket fence, removed from the dirt and crime of the city. Or at least, that's what most Americans seem to want. But the suburban way of life has a myriad of hidden costs and, according the makers of The End of Suburbia", may not be sustainable in the long term.


Gregory Greene, director of The End of Suburbia, discusses the film with Against the Grain's C.S. Soong.


Audio Interview [52:36] | mp3

Post Carbon Institute's campaign to raise energy awareness through End of Suburbia screenings


@: http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/interviews/88

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# # #


Sequel: Escape from Suburbia

The sequel to End of Suburbia is due for release in autumn of 2006, produced by Gregory Greene and Dara Rowland.


See http://escapefromsuburbia.com - A trailer is available on the site for advance viewing.


The advance description is that there will be a positive emphasis on what people in many countries are doing to meet the challenges of higher and higher oil prices.


Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The END of SUBURBIA explored the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet enters the age of Peak Oil.


In ESCAPE From SUBURBIA director Greg Greene once again takes us “through the looking glass” on a journey of discovery – a sobering yet vital and ultimately positive exploration of what the second half of the Oil Age has in store for us.


Through personal stories and interviews we examine how declining world oil production has already begun to affect modern life in North America. Expert scientific opinion is balanced with “on the street” portraits from an emerging global movement of citizen’s groups who are confronting the challenges of Peak Oil in extraordinary ways.


The clock is ticking. ESCAPE From SUBURBIA asks the tough questions: Are we approaching Peak Oil now? What are the controversies surrounding our future energy options? Why are a growing number of specialists and citizens skeptical of these options? What are ordinary people across North America doing in their own communities to prepare for Peak Oil? And what will YOU do as energy prices skyrocket and the Oil Age draws to a close?


LINKS: http://escapefromsuburbia.com/hotlinks.html#1


= = =




10 SOLUTIONS that are feasible, healthy, and sustainable:


1. An immediate and permanent moratorium on all new road construction and expansions.


2. An immediate and permanent moratorium on all new airport construction and expansions, as well as an end to all aviation subsidies. In addition, an end to the huge oil industry subsidies ($300 billion per year world wide).


3. A huge increase in funding for Amtrak and the immediate construction of a nationwide new train network across America connecting every city, town, and neighborhood with an efficient, state-of-the-art electric train network comparable to what is currently operating all across Europe and Japan. This should be built to transport both passengers and all the cargo now moved by very inefficient trucks.


4. An immediate tripling of minimum vehicle miles per gallon standards for all vehicles produced in America - accomplished by a quick and complete conversion of all factories to the building of only hybrid, solar, and fully electric vehicles.


5. An immediate moratorium on the construction of any new coal fired or nuclear power generating plants.


6. The immediate construction of massive new solar and wind power generating capacity all across America, including neighborhood scale and small wind turbines that can be incorporated inconspicuously into the roofs of buildings. Also, the immediate installation of new hydropower generating capacity in the form of coastal wave and tidal energy capture.


7. The immediate installation of full roof solar panels on every building in America.


8. An immediate moratorium on the building of any additional sprawl (which deepens auto/oil dependence).


9. A major focus of federal, state, and local governments on the revitalization and densification of all existing cities and towns across America into walkable, mixed-use communities, with pedestrians and bicycles given top priority over automobiles, and a serious focus on bicycles as a major form of transportation. Included would be millions of affordable housing units and high quality neighborhood schools located so all children can walk or bike to them.


10. The immediate installation of major organic farms at the edge of every city and town across America. In addition to this, the immediate planting of millions of trees across America.







-The $300 billion + spent so far on the Iraq war could have paid for a lot of this

-A portion of the $430 billion United States annual defense budget

-The hundreds of billions spent annually on road construction

-The hundreds of billions currently spent on airport expansions

-The hundreds of billions spent on constructing nuclear and coal fired power plants

-The $300 billion each year spent subsidizing the oil industry

-A new 'waste tax' imposed on waste and inefficiency



It is imperative that we invest in the solutions as soon as possible for a smooth transition to a sustainable future. Right now, "unfortunately, we're investing in war, not in crash projects to develop new energy sources." The real problem is that after we conclude the Iraq war spending well in excess of $300 billion, we will still be just as dependent on oil as before the war - not one thing will be improved with our society and our dangerous oil addiction!


"There is no more debate. We face a planetary emergency. The phrase sounds shrill but it is an accurate description of the climate crisis that we have to confront and solve." --Al Gore



What we need now more than anything is unified leadership and committed, focused, emergency action on a massive scale to save the planet before it's too late


@: http://www.newurbanism.org/

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Here, in a typical North American suburb, life seems to carrying on much as it has for the past fifty years. With every passing year, more and more streets like this one replace farmers?fields. As more and more people come here for their share of the good life. History, however, has proven itself indifferent to people hopes and dreams for a better life, even the best of intentions have often not been enough to avoid calamity. And suburbia began with the best of intentions.


The dream of the suburbs was the antidote to city life, and, in particular, the life of the industrial city and the industrial town. And the antidote was going to be country living for everybody. And the suburbs was a way of delivering that to the masses. (Music) The industrial city and the industrial town were really things that had never been seen before. You know, they were new. Human beings didn have experience with them and with all the terrible things that they produced. So, you know, the towns and cities of North America grew up in tandem with the industrial processes and were very much products of industrialism. And what happens pretty early in the process, by the mid 19th century, is that the industrial city becomes a fairly horrible place. There all this noise and effluence and pollution and stenches and all these terrible byproducts of factories and people don want to live around that stuff anymore. And then you get the additional problems of, you know, you need armies of workers to toil in these factories which are assuming increasingly immense scale. The quarters they live in end up being these vast tenement slums. You know this idea establishes itself I think in the collective consciousness of all of us North Americans that the city is not really a very good place to live. And what is the alternative? Well, there the city and there the country. Certainly the first suburbs in the late 19th century enabled the better off upper-middle class to get away from these moiling and toiling workers and all their vulgar worker culture of the cities.


In the 1870s and 80s and 90s, you get the first template, which is the suburb based on the idea of the manor in a park, the estate in a park. And these are subdivisions like Llewellyn Park in New Jersey and Riverside nine miles outside the Chicago Loop, which are basically large Victorian villas, deployed in a park-like setting. You know, in the beginning there must have been elements of it that were lovely, because the first people who were moving out there were pretty well-off. And they were moving to real countryside, there were no K-Marts in 1897.


Then in the late 19th, early 20th century before World War I, you get something quite different, you get the street car suburb, which is based on this idea of the street car lines, now leaving the city and these new suburbs which are still fairly civic in their physical design. There were these stops and each one of these stops created a beautiful little Main Street, smaller higher-density housing, cottages, bungalows nearby, all very walkable in the most traditional sense. And they are some of the most wonderful neighborhoods in America, theye just outside the central cities.


Then what happens is in the 1920s is that you get the mass motoring, democratization of suburbia and that results in the boom of the 1920s, largely based on creating these automobile suburbs and all their furnishings and accessories. And that project is interrupted by the Great Depression and the Second World War.


No sir, all this can keep a fellow from putting down his ideas. Something is going to add up here. His own air-conditioned castle with a deep breeze, a cooler for beer, a great big lawn where Pet and Bugsy will welcome him home. The Veterans?Emergency Housing Program is launched to help solve the housing emergency in hundreds of cities. The target: 2,700,000 homes and apartments started by the end of 1947. This is the payoff to our soldiers who fought in World War II. You get to come home; you don have to live in a city anymore; you can live in a brand new home in the suburbs and youe going to have a wife who can stay at home and a family and that the payoff and that became a packaged American Dream. But it only a post World War II American Dream, it not the true American Dream of anybody can make it.


Almost overnight, suburbia was born. A half million homes sprouting over the country in 1946. Nearly a million in 1947, a million in 1948, still more in 1949, 1950. The empty farmlands, the quiet towns and villages surrounding the city found themselves in the midst of a roaring housing boom.


You get the full, real elaboration of the automobile suburb based on the idea of the cul-de-sac subdivision and that becomes the template for how wee going to build things. This is the only part of the world at that time where plumbers and pipefitters and sheetrock hangers can own their own home. The middle class is going to go basically from the wino level clear up to the doctors and the dentists. And everybody will be included.

. . .

One of the things that happens is that suburbia ends up being a false promise. The post-war suburbia is not what it promises to be, it not country living, it a cartoon of country living and a cartoon of a house. You know, it has none of the real amenities of country life. No connection with real, organic systems of other living things. Rivers, forests, fields, agriculture, none of that, you just get a lawn, which is an industrial produced artifact. So it has none of the amenities of country life and it has none of the amenities of the town. In effect, it has all the disadvantages of both. You know, all you really have is a six lane highway.




..MORE: http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/231

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How likely do you think that the US would rather just reinstall street cars/interurbans rather than leave large parts of suburbia to rot.


After all, many UK suburbanites survive very well without cars.



Not in the new sprawl of new-builds rolling out across the country. The suburbs of the suburbs :)


No thought is given to the infrastructure of these places, no local shops, facilities or transport links. They're just plonked down outside existing towns and so everyone pretty much relies on the car to get to/from.


There really needs to be better planning for the proposed housing growth deemed 'neccessary' in the UK.

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"They're just plonked down outside existing towns and so everyone pretty much relies on the car to get to/from."


getting people OUT OF CARS and into quality street life, and effective mass

transport will be a big theme of the future

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"They're just plonked down outside existing towns and so everyone pretty much relies on the car to get to/from."


getting people OUT OF CARS and into quality street life, and effective mass

transport will be a big theme of the future


It has to be the way forward. The Docklands Light Railway seems to be a good example in the UK. Whenever I go to France, many cities seem to have new trams systems or mini-Underground systems.


These projects tend to need government planning or subsidy however, as the capital costs are high and patronage highly peaked. They are not in fact naturally profitable (and have not been for about 90 years). Maybe they will be again in future.

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they don't need subsidy, provided the builders get some cheap land,

and development rights alongside


this is how they built the railways in the us over a century ago

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they don't need subsidy, provided the builders get some cheap land,

and development rights alongside


this is how they built the railways in the us over a century ago


I am really referring to commuter railways. High speed TGV lines are profitable. The capital costs of modern railways are WAY higher than in the 19th century.


Even the London Underground lines built using that model in the early 20th Century never made money. The 1930s lines were built with government grants to relieve unemployment.


Of course, providing cheap land would be a hidden subsidy, as would be granting development rights.

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Originally called the Baker Street & Waterloo Railway, the line was constructed by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London Limited and opened in 1906. Prior to this, it had been financed by the mining entrepreneur and company promoter Whitaker Wright, who fell foul of the law over the financial proceedings involved and dramatically committed suicide at the Royal Courts of Justice after being convicted in 1904. The contraction of the name to "Bakerloo" rapidly caught on, and the official name was changed to match.






Yerkes was convicted of embezzlement and served seven months of a thirty-three month prison sentence. On his release, Yerkes began to rebuild his fortune and began to invest in transport stocks.



In 1881 he moved to Chicago with plans to open a bank there but soon became involved with the public transportation system instead. In 1886, Yerkes and his business partners used a complex financial deal to take-over the North Chicago City Railway and then proceeded to follow this with a string of further take-overs until he controlled a majority of the city's street railway systems on the north and west sides. When necessary to achieve his plans, Yerkes was not averse to using bribery and blackmail to ensure that a deal was completed.


The tubes were built by some very interesting characters!


When it comes to public transportation with public and private funding, I think it is best to compare the French TGV and the Texas Supertrain. The latter was never built.

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High speed TGV lines are profitable.


I am not sure how you arrive at that conclusion?? High speed lines are massively expensive and i cannot see how on earth they could be profitable, esp in the UK where land and the planning process etc are sooo expensive.

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I am not sure how you arrive at that conclusion?? High speed lines are massively expensive and i cannot see how on earth they could be profitable, esp in the UK where land and the planning process etc are sooo expensive.


A quick google search came up with the following evidence.




There are three trunk lines terminating in Paris. The first line to open to the public was the TGV Sud-Est, on 27 September, 1981, running south-east and linking Paris and Lyon. It was an instant success, and domestic flights between the two cities dropped dramatically as passengers adopted the new train. It is interesting to note that the TGV became one of the few SNCF services to operate at a profit, paying for the construction costs in just ten years. Such complete success convinced the French government to invest in the high-speed rail network, and many more miles have now been added.




Has a detailed breakdown of the each TGV line.


I think it is just a case of waiting for a return on the investment. If you are a venture capitalist after an instant profit, then no. If you are patient, then yes. You also have to bear in mind the economic boost the lines would provide. Of course, the idiotic obsession with PFI in the UK would increase costs.


TGV lines are a bit of a no-brainer really, and also exist in densely populated countries such as Belgium or Holland, (and Japan of course).


BTW, the old British Rail Intercity sector ran at a profit too.


EDIT: A further thought. If TGVs run 50% faster then a normal express (186 vs 125mph), then you need fewer trains to maintain a service of a certain frequency, so savings can be made in buying and crewing trains.

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Interesting stuff, though i must admit i am not convinced. As i understand it, French rail is heavily subsidised and i would be surprised if they had done their profit figures accurately - i.e included all the costs, or included some subsidy as profit etc.


Nevertheless, the UK is a totally different proposition to France. We have the same population with half the land area. I seem to recall seeing some study recently that suggests the costs of construction are about double in the UK given the expensive planning process etc and densely populated areas a new line would have to go through. Even the Atkins report - below - sated a fig of over £30m per km - and that was some years ago. Big schemes like this always seem prone to cost over-run too.


I am aware that Atkins was commissioned by the SRA to carry out a feasibility study to establish whether there is a transport and business case for constructing a new high speed line in the UK from London to the north a few years ago - and that they claim it could produce cost-benefit ratios of above 1. But, frankly i do not believe it. I skim read it and it did not seem to be a v impressive study. Further, they found that it would not contribute strongly to environmental goals.


Finally, modal shift was minimal (other than plane journeys between Scotland and London). But, the carbon saving from shifting planes journeys to train would also be minimal. I have calculated that shifting 500 journeys would save 8.8 tonnes of carbon per day and 3200 tonnes per year, or 0.003MtC. A 1000 journeys shifted would only double this to 0.006MtC. Plus, this assumes that this is translated into fewer plane trips and not just lower load ratios. Small beer in other words.

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As I pointed out, Japan, Belgium and Holland are densely populated and have managed to do it (South Korea as well).


All transport modes have hidden subsidies, not least aviation.


I agree that costs would be higher in the UK than France, but higher population densities with a more urbanised population should also greatly increase revenues. The other good thing about TGV (rather than Maglev) is that towns off the special lines can be served.


The other clincher is capacity. The current rail routes have maximum capacity and passengers are projected to increase further. A new line would increase capacity (which was the main reason for building the first French TGV line). It would also free up room for more freight and commuter trains on existing lines.


I am not sure of the exact Carbon emissions, but certainly trains are low carbon emitters most of the time. The French TGV network is mainly powered by nuclear generated electricity (like the rest of France).

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" The capital costs of modern railways are WAY higher than in the 19th century."


Land values are way higher too.


I believe that this grant of land development rights, has been one of the secrets of success of the MTR

in Hong Kong, which has built more mass transit rail lines to once-remote locations, like Lantau Island.


This is a formerly sparsely-populated island, which now includes:

+ A large international airport (that I can see outside my window)

+ Hong kond Disneyland, which is two MTR stops away

+ A new, and attractively designed city of high rises on the coast


To me, this seems a model of what could be done around a new airport development somewhere

in the UK. Many of these new airports are remote, outside the major cities. If you take the land

beyond the new airport, it is still cheap and underdeveloped. You could built New Urban areas along

a new subway line, where the force driving the development would be a combination of intelligent

design, and property development speculation


Takes vision, and leadership, which is sorely lacking. Anyone know Richard Branson?

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There was a proposal put forward a few months ago to move London's main airport from Heathrow to the Thames Gateway, and build a new suburb on the site of Heathrow (complete with excellent transport links).


A new link could easily be built to the Docklands airport, and aeroplane noise would be moved away from Central London.


Of course that would be far too sensible a proposal to happen in the UK! Too many air industry lobbyists. :rolleyes:



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Interesting point about MTR. I do note however that it is 76% owned by the HK government, and has government credit rating.


5. Does the Hong Kong SAR Government guarantee debts issued by the Company?


The Company has its own credit ratings, which are on par with the Hong Kong SAR Government. Its debts are not guaranteed by the Hong Kong SAR Government.


It also consults about fare increases, which I somehow cannot imagine a UK company doing.


I regret to say the for MTR to happen in the UK would probably require a major change in UK private sector culture. It would be great if they could run completely without subsidy, but I think some level would be needed in the UK sadly.


It is also worth noting that even the old nationalised rail companies in the UK (BR and LT) generated revenue from allowing shopping developments above stations. Also, even in France with the RER, there was private capital involved in construction. The same was true of the Jubilee Line extension, but unfortunately, the main company involved was Olympia and York.


Part of the problem with the property development model would be that it would have limited scope for connecting pre-existing suburbs. I suspect the most cost-effective method in those cases would be to hand over two lanes of a freeway to trams, which is quite common in Europe.

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"proposal put forward a few months ago to move London's main airport from Heathrow to the Thames Gateway, and build a new suburb on the site of Heathrow (complete with excellent transport links)."


Visionary stuff- i like it


Could be great if they built along New Urban-ist lines





"The revival of our lost art of place-making, it is essentially a re-ordering of the built environment into the form of complete towns. New Urbanism promotes these ideals..."


= = =


Some great charts on that link, Stobar


Here's one:


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This Question was asked on HPC:

"where to the chinese get their money from to buy their oil ?"

= = =


My Response:


The Chinese have been recycling their huge trade surpluses to the US, by purchasing US Treasuries,

and securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This recycling operation can be thought of as:


+ A huge vendor-financing scheme, allowing US Consumers to keep buying their products,

+ Has helped to keep US rates down, and the dollar up,

+ Has meant that China has built up huge reserves of dollars, which they could use to buy oil for many years


Right now, the Chinese are taking their big banks public in Hong kong, and on other global markets.

Once these banks have brought their credit and credit card systems fully up to date:


They will be able to provide "vendor finance" to their own people, and will ahve less need to finance

consumers in the US


This could be months away rather than years. In fact, there is evidence it has already started


Note that, the Chinese have realised that it will be harder to get the US to "use their homes as ATMs"

when US house prices were falling. So they have felt some urgency to get their banks restructured

and refinanced before the Property slide started in the US. They have pulled it off, and the renminbi

is starting to appreciate, and hit fresh highs this past week.


- -


(from another section):


"Since the breakdown of Bretton Woods in the early 1970's and the end of the gold standard, the dollar has become the international reserve currency. The 20 years prior to 1970 international reserves increased only about 55%, but since 1970, with the adoption of the dollar standard, reserves have increased over 2,000%. This is primarily a result of US current account deficits, which last year ran about $600 billion - about 3% of GDP. Asian central banks hold about $2 trillion US dollar-denominated reserve assets. This surge in international reserves has created huge imbalances ...

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"The suburban lifestyle is considered by many Americans to be an accepted and normal way of life.

But this gluttonous, sprawling, and energy-intensive way of life is simply not sustainable. Few people are aware of how their lives are dependent on cheap and abundant energy. Are these Americans in for a rude awakening? In a fascinating new documentary, "The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream," the central question is this: Does the suburban way of life have a future? The answer is a resounding no." ... more


How far out from the centres of cities are these suburbs? Six miles or so is an entirely feasible distance to commute by bicycle.


Billy Shears

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"Six miles or so is an entirely feasible distance to commute by bicycle"


Depends on the temperature and the terrain

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  • 3 months later...

"As a result, I think we could have a significant drop in the new-build buy-to-let market without it having much effect on suburbia"


THIS ADVICE and way of thinking is stupidly conventional,

and may be rather dangerous


Think about the impact of high energy prices due to peak oil,

And it is possoble to come to the exact opposite conclusion

Centre city would beat the Suburbs, with the expensive commuting


Focussing on the conventional thinking without mentioning Oil, will get the average dumb sheeplike investor in trouble (again)


There's even a movement called New Urbanism, which wants to bring connectedness of the city to the Subburbs,

and that may be worth thinking about


= =


See: http://forum.globalhousepricecrash.com/ind...showtopic=15745

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