News, Analysis and Opinion for the Informed Boulder Resident
Monday March 27th 2023

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

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)