The Census Bureau projects that the U.S. population will hit 300 million on Tuesday morning. Although our population has grown by only 50% in the last 39 years, the number of motor vehicles has doubled. Even more surprisingly, the number of miles driven per year has tripled during the same period. Environmentalists blame urban sprawl for the enormous increase in energy demands. For example, the environmental impact per capita in New York City is quite low compared to suburbs, where there are big houses and the need for more than one car per family.

I think that it is clear that if we are to survive as a country, we need to redevelop our urban centers and give up on the idea of sprawl. Suburban dreams are turning into nightmares in many cities due to longer and longer commute distances and times. If we build up urban centers and people start living closer and closer to where they work, our dependencies on energy will decrease. The catalyst for all this is energy costs. With energy costs increasing, I think you’ll see more and more people moving back into big cities. We’ll see how it plays out in the next decade.

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