Groningen adopted a hierarchy of prioritization for transit infrastructure decision-making. Pedestrians over cyclists, cyclists over public transit, public transit over cars. Whenever modes of transport don't work together smoothly, this hierarchy helps decision-making.
Seeking a Solarpunk Future
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Derek Caelin's booksView all books
Already, some suburban jurisdictions are adapting to new realities, transforming themselves into "urban 'burbs" with pedestrian downtowns, light-rail lines, and new forms of housing. This conscious urbanization is savvy in terms of meeting younger people's preferences, but it's also the only environmentally responsible course. The October 2018 report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we have only a short window of time until the year 2030-to bring down emissions enough to avoid catastrophic warming, and doing so will require "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society." Research shows that sprawl-style land use increases greenhouse-gas emissions by decentralizing jobs and services and prompting us to drive more.
The normative American suburb is in many ways ill- suited to how we live in the twenty-first century. It was planned around stay-at-home Mom, Dad, and little Jack and Sally, but there are now more single people, one-parent families, and multigenerational clans than nuclear families with young children. Millennials, with anemic wages and lots of student- loan debt, often can't afford the suburban split-levels they grew up in. And many of them wouldn't want to buy them if they could, anyway. It's the stuff of countless trend pieces, but Millennials really do have a preference for urban living. Polls show they value being able to walk to shops and restaurants and having short commutes. Young adults also report being happier in cities than previous generations did at the same stage in life.