Our codepedency on oil is not a healthy one. I know, you've heard it before and yes, I might sound like a crazy hippy but more and more those hippies are sounding a lot more informed than some originally thought and also more informed than a majority of our political leaders. A study that was conducted a little while back concluded what we already knew but is now presented in a nifty chart: we spend far too much time in our vehicles for a city our size and for such a rural state. These figures only show money spent on gas. It doesn't factor in the cost of owning and maintaining an automobile! The chart:
We're right behind Texas. That's right, Texas. I'm of the opinion that we shouldn't be anywhere near Texas on any lists after living there for 14 months. Their low taxation, cheap land, minimal planning, and explosive growth is rapidly catching up with them in a very negative way (see healthcare, education, transportation infrastructure, etc.). Anyway, enough of that place.
Again, our land use and low density form of development has us driving further and spending less time doing the things we enjoy. In exchange, we're polluting our air and spending hordes of money developing and maintaining an unsustainable form of infrastructure. Perhaps if we all saw the figures for how much of our income goes to roads, then maybe the alternatives wouldn't look so "outlandish."
Now, you all probably think that I want the whole city razed and replaced with high rises for everyone but it's not true. I believe low density, single-family homes are here to stay. Not everyone wants to live in an urban environment for a plethora of reasons. But our city doesn't currently provide options. Furthermore, density doesn't mean high rises. There are many building typologies that actually create densities near those associated with high rises. There are neighborhoods in our city that would adapt well to increased density.
Globalization and global warming are two looming issues that will force us to change our ways whether we want to recognize them or not. The water will dry up on all those lawns they continue to grow for every new house constructed on the west mesa. Concrete and steel prices will continue to rise as China, India, and other countries develop at an exceedingly rapid pace. High oil prices are here to stay and will only get worse. Electricity generation is required to heat and cool each and every single, unnecessarily large family home. These small facts of life are taken for granted in our country but we'll all soon be faced with crisis as we are forced to compete. It's like a business during tough economic times, you either create a leaner operating budget or send everyone home and file for bankruptcy. Right now, we're on our way to bankruptcy and we act like we don't know it.
In a poor state such as ours, we are also negatively affecting those with low incomes by forcing them to invest in automobiles so that they may 'git things done. It's asinine! I could go on all day about this but I'll stop here.