News, Analysis and Opinion for the Informed Boulder Resident
Wednesday July 17th 2019

Support the Blue Line

Subscribe to the Blue Line

That's what she said

city council transportation energy municipalization xcel housing urban planning april fools bicycles climate action election 2011 density boulder county open space affordable housing election agriculture renewables CU local food climate change election 2013 development jefferson parkway youth pedestrian election 2015 preservation Rocky Flats election 2017 recreation BVSD immigration mountain bikes boards and commissions decarbonization transit urban design GMOs fracking plan boulder farming fires wildlife colorado politics downtown architecture smart regs new era colorado plutonium natural gas journalism homeless planning board transit village parking commuting ghgs radioactive waste land use taxes rental height limits coal historic preservation april fools 2015 walkability historic district diversity energy efficiency Neighborhoods population growth flood students growth North Boulder gardens arts education election 2010 election 2018 solar bus water supply zoning University Hill nutrition RTD bike lane electric utility library safety sprawl groundwater water quality election 2012 affairs of the heart april fools 2016 renewable energy organic flood plain planning reserve mayor zero waste blue line wetlands county commissioners hogan-pancost politics electric vehicle hazardous waste transportation master plan obama longmont ballot right-sizing street design colorado legislature solar panels PV recycling golden comprehensive plan climate smart loan diagonal plaza Mapleton campaign finance bears flood mitigation conservation easement epa food boulder junction congestion pesticide road diet drought election 2016 planning inequality bus rapid transit flooding oil daily camera climate change deniers automobile PUC children ecocycle community cycles BVCP Newlands community league of women voters wind power public health ken wilson david miller sam weaver mlk crime civil rights boulder creek west tsa contamination city attorney al bartlett public spaces green points technology EV Orchard Grove marijuana Whittier arizona

Switchboard | Five ways to think about greener, healthier cities


Seattle (photo c2014 FK Benfield)

“…we all know city places that inspire romance – places that kindle love, if you will. There are the biggies, such as Paris, Rome, and San Francisco. There are historic districts in many cities with narrow, brick or cobbled streets. There are city squares set against dramatic natural views of mountains, desert, or water, or set against dramatic urban views of skylines, majestic buildings, and twinkling lights. There are tucked-away spots with an architecture of intimacy. Most of us have our favorites.

“But I submit that almost all of these city places that inspire love, and others that simply inspire, are also lovable themselves. Is this important? Should those of us who care about sustainability also care whether a place is ‘lovable’? Shouldn’t we only care about the resources it consumes and the pollution it generates?

“I reject the assumption that great numbers on sustainability indicators make a great place, or that whether a place is great doesn’t matter if it shows well on sustainability indicators. In fact, as my friend Steve Mouzon has articulated so well, I’ll stand these notions on their head and say that places are sustainable only if they are also lovable. The truth is that the mushy stuff – legacy, beauty, places that speak to the heart and soul – matters. But what about the whole ‘it’s in the eye of the beholder’ thing? If we can’t reach consensus on a definition of lovable, then how do we know when we have it?

“I’ll grant that lovability – or beauty – can be elusive to define, especially over time. But being elusive to define with certainty is not the same thing as being unimportant. While there may not be unanimity, there are in fact places that are pretty darn close to being universally loved. And they are the ones most likely to be defended and cared for over time, and thus the most sustainable in a very literal way. We should study them, learn from them, and create more of them. Lovability alone may not equate to environmental sustainability; but good environmental performance alone may not equate to literal sustainability.”

Read the entire article by Kaid Benfield at the NRDC’s Switchboard: Five ways to think about greener, healthier cities.

Rate this article: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

What do you think? Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.