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The Long Emergency - Page 10

post #181 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazelnut View Post
The thing that bugs me about the indictment of suburbia is that it's often painted with a (biased) general brush. I used to rent in a suburb that was on the city transit line, and was more like an extension of the city. I also grew up in a quiet suburb that was on the train line, had a small central uptown, and I walked everywhere- to school, the library, parks. My mom biked to get groceries. I'd rather be in a suburb like that than a more crowded city should things disintegrate. Isolated, car-culture suburbs are not at all ideal, but around here they're often cheaper too, which is why I guess some people choose to live there. But not all of "suburbia" is subdivision urban sprawl, so I guess when some people go on about the "suburbs" the generalizations get on my nerves a bit.
Oh, for sure. People do sometimes paint all residential areas with the same brush, and there's a huge difference between the walkable communities that include some employment base like you're describing, and the car-centered exurb developments with the curvy streets that don't connect to commercial centers, where even if it's just a few hundred feet as the crow flies, you still have to drive miles to access it.
The second kind, that's what Kunstler is saying will degenerate into slums, because you can only navigate them by car. Or maybe horse. Will we have horses in this Long Emergency?
I'm a geek for town planning, but sometimes I like to think of how we would reuse Wal-Marts and exurb gated communities come the apocalypse.
post #182 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post
I'm a geek for town planning, but sometimes I like to think of how we would reuse Wal-Marts and exurb gated communities come the apocalypse.
I'd like to hear your ideas for vacant big-boxes. Home Depot is moving out of our community and leaving its shell behind. There is a Wal-Mart across the river (less than a mile out of town) that is also vacating soon. I think our community would be interested in some new/innovative ideas for using those spaces, even if they are long-term...
post #183 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
I'd like to hear your ideas for vacant big-boxes. Home Depot is moving out of our community and leaving its shell behind. There is a Wal-Mart across the river (less than a mile out of town) that is also vacating soon. I think our community would be interested in some new/innovative ideas for using those spaces, even if they are long-term...
Not "big box" stores, but in our area many old, free-standing department stores that have gone out of business (think Woolworths, etc) have been turned into indoor flea markets, small farmer's markets and even mini-mall type places where people build their own little permanent stalls inside. We have an awesome ethnic flea market that is built like that.
post #184 of 260
Re: empty superstores--

Put solar panels on them, turn them into clinics or schools.
post #185 of 260
Thread Starter 
I do think Kunstler paints a worst-case scenario, but the book would have a lot less impact if his message were, "Here are all the issues converging to a serious energy/environmental crisis, but don't worry, we'll figure it all out." He is outlining what he thinks will happen if people continue to bury their heads in the sand, or become aggressive/combative instead of cooperating.

I do live in the kind of small town he seems to favor, although in the south so apparently I better get my bulletproof vest now. I think the issues are very real, and I'm trying to prepare in manageable ways without obsessing. There is only so much I can do, and what will happen will happen.

I confess I am disturbed though by the number of people who are still saying things like, "I guess it's time to trade our Expedition in for a Prius" or "the government needs to do something" or "we'll just tough it out until this passes" or "if it weren't for the Sierra Club we could drill our own oil and fix this situation" etc. Well, each one of those thoughts is disturbing for a different reason, I guess overall they all just indicate that the person believes the status quo should and will be maintained no matter what. I just don't think that is very realistic. If the average person thinks the current issue is merely high gas prices and that we just need slightly better fuel economy or for the government to "do something", then I'm afraid we may not have the kind of widespread understanding of the problems, and commitment to overcoming them, that is really necessary to get our whole society through this in a peaceful and productive way.
post #186 of 260
I currently live in a community that I think will ultimately crash and burn. Strike 1: it's in Southern California. Strike 2: it's in the mountains. It takes a lot of fuel to get goods up to my town now, and I can easily imagine truckers simply not coming up the mountain in the future. Why would they? There are 10,000 people up here and millions of people down the hill. Also, the mountain road frequently (every couple of years) washes out. It's easy to imagine the County would simply not be able to repair the road, or would choose not to repair or plow roads up here. And we don't have enough water to grow our own food; there's no local food, period. And we're not a real town: we're a tourist town. Our town "center" consists of a series of outlet stores And then there are the communities "down the hill". Think awful box houses packed on top of each other. No sense of community - everything is designed for driving. And despite being in California, again, there is no local food to be had. It's all factory-farmed food coming from Northern California. Yuck.

Anyway, all that to say that when I read The Long Emergency, Kunstler's scenarios resonated with me, because I can easily see the ultimate demise of my local environment.

I think that maybe the folks who don't think things will be as bad as described in The Long Emergency aren't connecting current news elsewhere with Peak Oil. That's why I read Sharon Astyk: http://sharonastyk.com/2008/06/12/th...der-her-couch/
post #187 of 260
Empty Big Box- our public library is in a building that used to be a Woolworths. We also have an empty medium-box store space that gets rented by various groups to do flea sales/BIG sales. Oh, and another that houses the twice yearly books sale... the sale is only twice a year but the books are stored/processed in the space year round.

And if things were "really" bad an empty big box store would be a great winter campsite for extended families or small communities. Sort of like the winter quarters of groups all over the world (though I'm thinking first peoples and nordic cultures right now). You'd be able to set up tents/zones for each family group but share warmth and supplies while staying out of the worst of the weather. It could be fun!
post #188 of 260
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomInFlux View Post
I think that maybe the folks who don't think things will be as bad as described in The Long Emergency aren't connecting current news elsewhere with Peak Oil. That's why I read Sharon Astyk: http://sharonastyk.com/2008/06/12/th...der-her-couch/
I read that this morning as well and it's pretty alarming. This isn't even *genuine* shortages on fuel/goods, just fed-up truckers refusing to eat the expense of moving the fuel and goods.
post #189 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
I confess I am disturbed though by the number of people who are still saying things like, "I guess it's time to trade our Expedition in for a Prius" or "the government needs to do something" or "we'll just tough it out until this passes" or "if it weren't for the Sierra Club we could drill our own oil and fix this situation" etc. Well, each one of those thoughts is disturbing for a different reason, I guess overall they all just indicate that the person believes the status quo should and will be maintained no matter what.
YES! Exactly. I am constantly amazed at what Americans expect our standard of living to be, and how we feel entitled to TVs, cars, etc. I'm certainly not immune either.

Regarding big box stores, part of the problem is that they are built with a short shelf life. I think they are built to last 10 or 20 years, typically. So by the time the retailer abandons ship, you've got a deteriorating building. But perhaps in the near future there may be more of them that are younger... That being said, there is so much space! I think they would make great community centers. Maybe a canning kitchen, roller rink, art center, skate park, community exchange (flea market/barter center), classrooms, etc.

To the OP on this question, I think it really depends on what the community needs and wants.
post #190 of 260
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HydeParkB View Post
Regarding big box stores, part of the problem is that they are built with a short shelf life. I think they are built to last 10 or 20 years, typically. So by the time the retailer abandons ship, you've got a deteriorating building.
I think Kunstler addresses this, in fact -- that the flat roofs typical of strip malls and big box stores require a significant amount of maintenance, and that once the roof is leaking the rest of the building won't stand for long.
post #191 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
I read that this morning as well and it's pretty alarming. This isn't even *genuine* shortages on fuel/goods, just fed-up truckers refusing to eat the expense of moving the fuel and goods.
It is scary. I wonder how much gas will have to cost in the US before we face similar situations?

V
post #192 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomInFlux View Post
I think that maybe the folks who don't think things will be as bad as described in The Long Emergency aren't connecting current news elsewhere with Peak Oil. That's why I read Sharon Astyk: http://sharonastyk.com/2008/06/12/th...der-her-couch/
I read her, too. I started another thread specifically regarding her post about the city/suburb/rural, where to live thing: http://sharonastyk.com/2008/06/10/ci...ou-live-there/
(Here's my post in this same forum: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=913227)

I haven't read The Long Emergency yet. I will do that.
post #193 of 260
No Not read this book yet.....
post #194 of 260
Big Box - Around here they have been turned into Library/community center, churches, flea markets, a pizza/game place, but many many more still sit vacant or have to be completely remodelled. Our miniwalmart, not a super, was turned into a strip center.
post #195 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
Life, I think, OVERALL, hasn't gotten much better or worse, just DIFFERENT. Yes, we don't need to worry about 3/4 of our children dying young, but people back then didn't have to worry about getting killed/maimed by cars, massive hard-core drug problems (think heroin, meth), etc. Then again, right now, we are sorely missing the close physical connections to friends & family. Until recently, humans have lived very close to family & friends. How many of us can say we live next door to either a close friend or family? This creates a different type of stress on us. So while life wasn't easy in the past, I don't think it's much easier now. I think we just have gotten too attached to creature comforts to think about it being otherwise.
I guess for me, any world in which I don't have to worry about my children dying on a daily basis is better. Much, much better, not even close to just different. I have a great-great-uncle, a child, who died in the Great Depression largely because of poverty and lack of food, and that child is still mourned and grieved by the survivors today. That's always stuck with me, how scarred one family is by the loss of a child nearly a century ago. I live in a close-knit community and family (can walk to friends houses and take a bus to relatives' houses) and I would give all of that up in an instant with no regrets if the choice was that or the life of my child.
post #196 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
I guess for me, any world in which I don't have to worry about my children dying on a daily basis is better. Much, much better, not even close to just different. I have a great-great-uncle, a child, who died in the Great Depression largely because of poverty and lack of food, and that child is still mourned and grieved by the survivors today. That's always stuck with me, how scarred one family is by the loss of a child nearly a century ago. I live in a close-knit community and family (can walk to friends houses and take a bus to relatives' houses) and I would give all of that up in an instant with no regrets if the choice was that or the life of my child.
nak

I think you may have misunderstood me. I also don't want to start a fight. If you look at my sig, you'll see that I myself have lost a child. In fact, I was holding him as he passed. I DO NOT wish that upon anyone else.

That being said, I still worry about my living son every day. The US has the highest infant mortality rate of all the industrialized countries, even though we are the richest. So, in a sense, we are ALREADY accepting increased infant mortality. And I'm putting him in A LOT of danger just having him in the car. It doesn't make me think my life sucks tho.

All I was trying to get across was that I don't think there was a better or worse OVERALL life than the one we have today. During certain times, like war, life sucked a lot. During times of peace, not so much. Certain pleasantries just changed. Before, the pace of life was a lot slower and everyone lived nearby, so there was a lot of family support. Nowadays we have better medicine and lots of nice creature comforts. That's all.

Ami
post #197 of 260
I think that perhaps by TODAY's standards, life in previous times was much rougher and quite possibly more miserable. However, if we judge their lives by THEIR standards, not so much. You have to remember looking at the way they lived that they did not know the luxeries we have today, so they couldn't possibly miss having them. The question of whether they were miserable is actually not at all the same question of whether their life was rougher than we have it, because they didn't judge themselves by our standards. My BA is in history, and I can tell you from much research, most people from previous time periods did not feel they had it that bad, each generation was pretty sure they had it better than the generation before them, so none of them would likely have classified themselves as miserable. I know I'm a bit off topic here, but I think that JTA Mom and Azuralea (just from the last two posts, not to single you mamas out ) are not talking about the same things really- one is discussing the happines and overall level of comfort and acceptance while the other is focusing on actual standard of living compared throughout history.
I hope that all made sense!
post #198 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
nak
I think you may have misunderstood me. I also don't want to start a fight. If you look at my sig, you'll see that I myself have lost a child. In fact, I was holding him as he passed. I DO NOT wish that upon anyone else.
Oh, please don't worry, I didn't think you were. I am so sorry about the loss of your sweet boy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
All I was trying to get across was that I don't think there was a better or worse OVERALL life than the one we have today. During certain times, like war, life sucked a lot. During times of peace, not so much. Certain pleasantries just changed. Before, the pace of life was a lot slower and everyone lived nearby, so there was a lot of family support. Nowadays we have better medicine and lots of nice creature comforts. That's all.
Yes, I understand what you're getting at more now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CameronsMama View Post
I know I'm a bit off topic here, but I think that JTA Mom and Azuralea (just from the last two posts, not to single you mamas out ) are not talking about the same things really- one is discussing the happines and overall level of comfort and acceptance while the other is focusing on actual standard of living compared throughout history.
I hope that all made sense!
Actually, I think you're right, and I understand better what JTA was getting at. Thank you!
post #199 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by HydeParkB View Post

Regarding big box stores, part of the problem is that they are built with a short shelf life. I think they are built to last 10 or 20 years, typically. So by the time the retailer abandons ship, you've got a deteriorating building. But perhaps in the near future there may be more of them that are younger... That being said, there is so much space! I think they would make great community centers. Maybe a canning kitchen, roller rink, art center, skate park, community exchange (flea market/barter center), classrooms, etc.

To the OP on this question, I think it really depends on what the community needs and wants.
Yes, and yes. The big boxes typically are not built to last. That said. I can imagine some sort of entire village springing up inside of one, in the long emergency type scenario. You could bust up the parking lot and turn it into agriculture.
In our current existence, they are damn hard to adaptively reuse. I think they'd work well as flea markets with lots of little stalls inside.
post #200 of 260
I made a thread about this book in the media forum recently, and a user directed me here...so hi!

I'm almost done with this book. DH and I are trying to pay down our (large, unfortunately) student loans as quickly as possible, and we're looking at land, off grid housing, etc.

My main question at the moment is...where is a good place to live? Our family is in the MD/VA area...We're leaning towards MD, VA, or NC. I know we want to be near the coast and semi-rural...we want a couple acres. PA is also another option, though my first choice is a coastal area. Any thoughts on New England? VT, ME? I'd like to investiage those options as well.

I wish we were closer with my SIL. I'd love to have some sort of living arrangement with her...not in the same house, but her family and ours with our own houses on a bigger chunk of land that we can garden and do all of that together. It is always easier with more people, and I feel like we should stick together with the family we have.
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