The Californian fires and New Urbanism

New Urbanism uses 10% of the land of suburbia, housing a million people in 40 square miles instead of 400 square miles. With careful rezoning, suburbia could creep back in on itself over the next generation as the housing stock ages. Allowing for population growth the final city size might be half or even a quarter of the current city size. With normal attrition of the housing stock, suburbia could be replaced by New Urbanism within 60 years. As it collapses back in on itself it would free up heaps of space for natural ecosystems and parks and other firebreaks, and concentrate more wealth and resources in less area. Real Engineering reported that suburban sprawl wastes up to HALF their fresh water in plumbing leaks just because all that plumbing is spread out over such enormous areas. It’s just too hard to maintain in tip top condition. But concentrating everything means there is vastly more money covering vastly less area in such disasters. In other words, where suburbia would be lucky to have a few fire trucks racing around a whole sprawling suburb, New Urbanism is so compact that 2 fire trucks per neighbourhood could prevent most fires spreading. Every eco-apartment complex could afford to have an interior and exterior fire prevention spray system — and the water pressure saved (from suburban sprawl) could be allocated to wetting down a neighbourhood at risk of fire. It’s just another reason that New Urbanism is a superior city plan to suburban sprawl.
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