Reduce the need for mobility: Move closer to work or work moves closer to you?

For as long as I can remember, prime farmlands have been turing into residential areas. For some reason, everyone seems to need a 3000+ sq ft house, with large front and back yards. Urban centre is expensive, however, so people move further and further away in chase of their “Dream house”. As a result, more food needs to be shipped from further away, and people need to commute for hours a day just to get to work.

Is that really the right lifestyle for us to desire? Most people who have big houses never make use of all the rooms anyway. Most front yards and back yards have nothing growing on them but grass. We seem to collective want bigger houses so it has more rooms for us to put all the stuff we want to buy into.

If we all lived in small apartments with more shared areas and community space, that would as least save the land. All the business can be concentrated with the living quarters, so public transit would be a lot more effective.

In fact, why have people go to work everyday of the week? Allow more people to work from home, have special “collaboration” days. That way, corporations can do hoteling and reduce the need of office space and save on energy.

The more condensed you can make the population center, the more room the more of the suburban areas can be freed up to provide food to feed the city. With the cost of oil going up, the differential in price between food produced half way around the world and locally grown food will reduce, and locally grown food is more nutritious anyhow. Of course, none of us want to live in ghettos, so someone clever will have to figure out how to make it pleasant.

As individuals, where you choose to live, and what you choose to live in are important. Trends are started by individuals, when enough people are doing certain things, a phase transition occurs, and it becomes a movement. Movement gets attentions of companies, and they will rise up to meet that demand. You will also affect how cities are planned and what type of infrastructures are put in place.

In fact, if enough individuals wrote to their political representatives, and said, “I care about the environment, so I think that for everyone who lives within 25kms of their workplace, they should get a income tax break.” That might just become a reality, and we might actually be able to reduce the commute.


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