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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 21 reviews
on December 28, 2012
The book makes no pretense that climate change puts humanity in a dramatic situation, and the question is no longer whether we can avoid it or not. It's whether the effects will be catastrophic and "beyond adaptation" (4 degrees of global warming or more) or just "extremely dangerous" (2 degrees). To achieve the latter, industrialized nations will need to achieve zero carbon emissions, and do so rather quickly.

How can this be done? Switch to clean energy and make all cars electric? That's completely unrealistic, says Alex Steffen, it would take too long. Instead he proposes structural changes to the way we build cities -- make neighborhoods walkable by increasing density, for example.

While the ideas that he puts forth are great, stunning, insightful, I don't quite buy that any of this can be done easily in the available time-frame. At least not any easier than turning individual transport completely electric.

There are quite a few gems in the book, e.g. the observation that a typical home power drill could drill thousands of hours, yet is only used for about 6-20 minutes over its lifetime. Overall, the book suggests what many futurists have told us: Everything we need to solve our problems is right in front of us, there is no question that survival for the human race is not only possible, but what we could in fact lead much more healthy, prosperous, and fulfilling lives than we currently do.

But it looks like our actual path into the future will be a whole lot messier than that.
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on December 7, 2014
This book contains a lot of good information that is already well established in this field of study, so it would provide idea a solid overview for students. For me as a professional in the field for 25 years, I found it depressing because I don't see our country or world making much progress toward many of the book's goals. It also contains no details about how to achieve any of the goals, stating that it is up to the country to figure that out. Given what I've seen in the past, and our current inability to overcome political gridlock for even simple, obvious solutions, the absence of such details is frustrating.
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on March 11, 2013
If you're looking for a cheerleading overview of some of the strongest claims of the new urbanism movement, this is as good a manifesto as any. However, if you're already versed in some of the tradeoffs and social issues involved in urbanism,this book doesn't go deep enough.

There are many places where suggestions made here could either be augmented or discounted by back of the envelope calculations. The lack of that critical thinking means that they're left as an exercise to the reder, and when we do such calculations, we find that the scenarios aren't nearly as rosy as their presented.

By all means, dig deeper, but do so with one of the many more in-depth treatments of the topic.
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on December 23, 2012
It's not enough to switch to low carbon energy. In this visionary book, Alex Steffen talks about having better lives based on urban density and better sharing of all types of everyday objects from electric drills to electric cars. There's more positive planetary impact from best urban practices than nearly any other single factor. A rare hopeful take on sustainability--humanity's biggest challenge.
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on January 25, 2013
Steffen isn't give you answers, he's pointing out possibilities. It's up to local officials and citizens to take some of these possibilities (and others that Steffen hasn't thought of yet) and put them into action in individual cities. It's clear from this book that creating carbon neutral cities is possible. There are many ways carbon zero can be achieved. It up to each locale to pick a way that will work for them and start implementing it.
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on August 8, 2016
Great book on how urban sprawl is negative and that cities can be the answer to our overpopulated world.
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on February 16, 2013
Not done reading this one yet, but already love it. Speaks to every environmentalist heart, and proposes practical ideas that our policymakers should read.
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on June 8, 2015
Great book!! A must-read for anyone interested in sustainability strategies
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on January 3, 2015
Excellent analysis of possible ways to zero carbon cities
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