David Owen’s amazingly prescient and clear-eyed book from 2009, The Green Metropolis, deconstructs exactly what city planners, environmentalists, and the general population get right about cities… and what they get very, very wrong.
His book offers staggeringly simple reasons to rethink how we approach the twin questions of:
- “Are cities good or bad for the environment?” and
- “Cars… OMG?”
- Very, very, very good, and
- Yes, cars, OMG.
His arguments, citing a veritable mountain of statistical evidence laid bare in his clear, concise writing, chronicles the rise, fall, rebirth, and future of human cities since the invention of the automobile. He argues that these high-density urban environments are not only more environmentally green, but actually shift the entire conversation from cars and drivers back to fundamental quality-of-life issues for all humans, from the very young to the elderly, and how best to satisfy them.
Owens’ three basic themes are clear: live smaller, live closer, and drive less.