From City Journal, please read Get Dense. The subtitle tells the story in a nutshell:
"It’s time to stop wasting land and resources in the name of environmentalism."
More than three decades ago, the British economist E. F. Schumacher stated the essence of environmental protection in three words: “Small is beautiful.” As Schumacher argued in a famous book by that title, man-made disturbances of the natural world . . . should have the smallest possible footprints.The idea is that the environment is protected when human activities are concentrated into a smaller footprint. "Sprawl" immediately came to mind when reading this, and author Robert Bryce did not disappoint.
Perhaps the most familiar example of environmentally friendly density, though, is the way humanity has concentrated itself by moving from the country to cities, a process that is happening especially rapidly in the developing world. The opposite process, suburbanization, requires far more land area per resident—and therefore more miles of streets, electricity cables, and sewer lines . . .Bryce goes well beyond sprawl to address other aspects of human development. He exposes through specific examples of food and energy production how policies promoted as being environmentally protective can be exactly the opposite when the density of development is taken into account. The numbers will open your eyes. He summarizes:
The greenness of density leads to two conclusions. First, those who make environmental policy should consider density a desirable goal in nearly all the issues that they confront. And second, the real environmentalists aren’t headline-seeking activists and advocacy groups; they’re farmers, urban planners, agronomists, and, yes, even natural-gas drillers and nuclear engineers.Bryce's article is well worth reading... and we now have a new word to bring into discussions: "density."