Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Population growth and climate change

The United Sates Census Bureau predicts that the population of the United States will grow by another 100 million in the next forty years. In his book The Next 100 Million: America in 2050 Joel Kotkin sketches a mostly positive outlook on how  diverse and optimistic Americans will cope with this population increase

Mr. Kotkin’s text is a serious study and richly footnoted. His anti new-urbanist view is in apparent. He puts forth that even with this new growth the density of the United States will still be many times less than the population density in Europe. His position on the growth of new extra urban mini-metropolises throughout the heartland of America, supports my view that telecommuting and information transfer technologies will make living in major urban environment a life style not a career driven decision.

If we take as a given that Climate Change will be upon us sooner than later, where ill those people live and what will this population growth mean to the rest of us.

While no one for certain, can say what areas of the United States will be suitable for human habitation in fifty years, one thing for certain some places in America will get better for humans and others will get worse. If you read, and fully believe Dianne Dumanoski’s book The End of the Long Summer you might not be so optimistic. However, as I  believe that we are past the climate change tipping point, its a moot point. The population of the United Sates will grow significantly and climate change will shift our industrialized focus.

What does that mean to our future economy. Less consumer spending of scare resources and more group purchases or redistribution of resources through government. We will have to build new infrastructures to support our increased population and new infrastructure to support it where it lives.

Where will the new population go. No one knows for certain, except that it will go where the weather supports growth and to places (urban or otherwise) that provides for the spiritual and physical needs of Americans.

What does that mean?

More Local Everything

New villages, cities and towns that provide green economies in places that have good weather, rational water supplies and the potential for growing crops.

More small city growth where transportation and infrastructures can be funded locally without mega grants from the federal government.

More villages, cities and towns in areas with abundant green power of hydro, wind and direct solar.

More communities that provide local entertainment and opportunities to recreate in the outdo

Where will this take place?

Your guess is as good as any, my guess: the hill country of Texas, interior North and South Carolina, possibly Arkansas, Oklahoma and the Dakotas as well as the Intermountain West. It is unlikely to take place in the coastal states or anywhere with mega city growth has reached practical commuting and social management limits.

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