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Self-Sufficience v. Sustainable Cities

The question is which idea is better. Maintaining an individual or group's self-sufficience by way of the green construction of "off-the-grid" homes that depend entirely on on-site green energy, and growing one's own produce and livestock to sustain themselves and those in their community. This is an argument to DISPURSE the concentration of populations that happen in cities, and in turn decrease crime and the massive polution that comes from cities. OR Agenda 21, which is the plan to concentrate populations INTO cities to creat single places of higher density populations while leaving the rest of the environment out in the country to heal itself, without the presence of humankind. Which is better?

Topics: Agenda 21

Closing Statement from Evan Young

I think Scott and Alex proved the came to the table with the best points here. Both types are, in fact, necessary. I agree with the the statment about anyone who has land that does NOT grow, being a waste. When one owns a their own land, it is their responsibility to utilize it , and at the same time maintain it and better it.
I'll agree with Scott's statement about their being better transportation in the cities as well. the very few times I have had my misfortunes to find myself in the high density center of Boston, i did find it was certainly easy to get around with minimal to no fuel usage.
Everyone who had something to say here had fantastic points, and I thank you for the well thought responses. But know as a closing item, I will play Devil's Advocate simply to present an item to ponder for a while:

It is true, some people do want to live in the city, and many prefer the country life. But remember, fewer people than we realize actually drive hybrids or purely electric cars, and some people also refuse to drive hybrids because they WANT to drive fuel burning vehicles. Why serve to one lifystyle group, while treading on the other under foot and leaving them by the wayside? The massive use of fuel that this country goes through is detrimental to the environment indeed, but here's something to consider. The amount of emmisions produced by say a prius, when driven by from a blue color business man from here in Worcester "Woodchuck" County, MA all the way into the center of Boston is quite close if not more than "hillbilly" Joe driving his diesel F-350 across town to work (Remeber, regular diesel is actually cleaner burning AND more fuel efficient than gasoline).
I guess my argument is this, construct green construction closer to the cities for those who wish to work there, and at the same time encourage "off the grid" construction everywhere else. a safe and very stewardly compromise. to continue feel free to email me, eyoung3@mwcc.edu

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    Jan 29 2013: A city is like a potato. Most people think of the vegetable, but it's really a plant with roots and leaves that allow it to grow. For a city to be sustainable, all the resources that support it must be sustainable. The agriculture, the transportation of that food, the energy, the building materials, the means of shipping that allow for trade, and the disposal of waste must all be sustainable. That's no easy task.

    People look at life in the city and see greener options. There is better public transportation, car sharing, and more like minded green thinking people. Those cities are just as dependent on the polluting resources in industrial developments as the workers in a small coal mining town are. As a person who recently moved from a smaller place (kelowna, BC, Canada) to a larger city (Vancouver BC) if have found that I have larger commutes, less gardening space and find local food to be more expensive. There are a lot of like minded environmentalists here, but I am more dependent on fossil fuels than I was before.

    Cities are an inevitable part of human civilization. People like to gather. There is also a certain amount of efficiency in cities (check out this talk http://www.ted.com/talks/geoffrey_west_the_surprising_math_of_cities_and_corporations.html). However, a city is only as sustainable as the resources that sustain it. It is in the small towns that those resources come from that people will be more able to live "off the grid".

    I think localized self-sufficiency is easier to achieve in the short term and adds resiliency to the system. However, its not an option for everyone. I bit of both I guess is the best we can hope for.

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