Dayton could be a hot property again-

Greg Hunter sent me this link- James Kunstler gives his prescription for the future of our country- once cheap transportation stops being cheap. It’s not just a dependence on oil, or on alternative sources- it’s the whole cost of the infrastructure to support our car based economy.

After reading local “expert” Sam Staley’s views on the future in the Feb 3rd 2007 Dayton Daily News OpEd page- this becomes even more critical. Staley calls people who believe in public transit “the Congestion Coalition”- totally ignoring the idea of walkable, livable communities- in exchange for a total car based economy.

Kunstler tells us to look at the flip side- once we can’t afford to support cars, what next. I highly recommend the whole thing- here is a bit from the tail.

Life in the USA will have to become much more local, and virtually all the activities of everyday life will have to be re-scaled. You can state categorically that any enterprise now supersized is likely to fail — everything from the federal government to big corporations to huge institutions. If you can find a way to do something practical and useful on a smaller scale than it is currently being done, you are likely to have food in your cupboard and people who esteem you. An entire social infrastructure of voluntary associations, co-opted by the narcotic of television, needs to be reconstructed. Local institutions for care of the helpless will have to be organized. Local politics will be much more meaningful as state governments and federal agencies slide into complete impotence. Lots of jobs here for local heroes.

Read the whole thing here Atlantic Free Press – Hard Truths for Hard Times – The Agenda Restated – Kunstler

I’d like to hear what you think of Dayton as a leader in livability. Besides, once the coasts are under water from Global warming- we will be looking really good.

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6 Comments on "Dayton could be a hot property again-"

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Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter
You will not have any light rail in this town unless Mr. Staley is run out on one first. He is an interesting person and to evaluate his perspective on the success of Houston’s Light Rail. He seems to think that the free market got it done while in reality it was negotiation and compromise. It looks very similar to Austin Road, except Dayton does not get light rail. Houston got light rail and Delay got a connector for the sprawl already underway in Sugarland. By the way according to public records the Reason Foundation is one of the larger recipients of Exxon Mobile money for their “reasonable” approach concerning the global warming issue. Mr. Staley on Houston’s Light Rail Houston is also an important example because in adding capacity and actually reducing congestion, they have also created a more competitive and viable environment for mass transit. It’s one of the few metropolitan areas where we have seen highway capacity has improved, congestion has declined but transit opportunities have increased as well. So the idea that road building has to be done at the expense of transit is not true and we see the proof of that in Houston. Mr. Ben Hill’s take on the process. At that same board meeting, Richard Everett, who was chairman of the Partnerships’ Transportation and Infrastructure Advisory Committee, reported that Delay was thinking of killing federal funding to the light rail project and that letters had been sent to the congressman’s office informing him that: “…The seven mile stretch of Main Street’s light rail should be built with or without federal funding…” The Partnership was clearly concerned. But what reasons would Delay have to deny funding to the light rail? One answer is fairly straightforward: Metro’s plan did not benefit his interests or those of his constituents. Delay does not represent Texas or Houston. He represents Sugar Land. When Metro asked for federal funding, Metro had no plan in the works to alleviate traffic congestion on U.S. Highway 59, the city’s main link to Houston. Thus, Delay was hostile to such a costly endeavor… Read more »

Staley is an ideologue. Greg Hunters post was a good deconstruction of how things really work, beyond ideology.

Kunstler. I don’t think people really get what Kunstler is saying, or grasp the magnitude of what he is predicting.

Dayton won’t be liveable, nor will any other urban area Ohio, if what he says comes to pass, as urban life usually dies out during dark ages.

The most liveable part of Ohio in the Kunstler future will be Holmes County, as things will bet getting pretty Amish pretty fast…


It would be nice to be able to dismiss Kunstler’s article as a lot of alarmist, apocalyptic caterwauling. But some very smart people think Hubbert’s Peak (of world oil production) happened about a year ago. So the question isn’t if the sky will fall, or even if the sky is falling now—but did the sky fall already?

What Kunstler recommends is do-able. David’s been living a “rescaled, local life” for 20 years.

I’ve even managed to live without a car twice: once when I was teaching in Africa, and once when I had a three month assignment at Stanford. My creativity and resourcefulness may have been tested in interesting ways then, but I never felt restricted or deprived. (Of course, the Bay Area has great public transportation including commuter rail, and perfect weather for walking and biking just about every day of the year, so that was easy).

If I could do it anyone can, because I’m used to driving about 60,000 miles per year. That’s about a 1000 hours spent in my car every year. What a waste of time.

I think The Next Wave should sponsor a contest with a free scooter going to the person who can demonstrate the biggest lifestyle change and the greatest reduction in their personal oil dependency. Of course that’s just because I really, really want a free scooter.

What do you say David?

David Esrati
David Esrati

I say buy your own scooter Pam.
Of course, I could start selling ads on this site, take the proceeds to buy a scooter- and then have a contest.
Then again, buy your own scooter Pam.


It was worth a try.


Lecture by Kunstler, dissecting suburbia, “entropy made visible”:
I won’t vouch for his grasp of thermodynamics, but it is an interesting talk on architecture.