Cities and Suburbs in the Energy Descent: Thinking in Scenarios

Please join me today, on my 60th birthday, in welcoming Karl North as our first guest post at kulturCritic. Karl obviously thinks more systematically than I do about the future.  He has also developed an interesting way of thinking about possible scenarios that may play-out as we move through the long energy descent we have already embarked upon.  I first heard the concept “carrying capacity” of the earth when I was a professor at the Colorado School of Mines back in the early 1980’s.  I have subsequently come to appreciate the full force of this concept as we have overshot that carrying capacity long ago.  And Karl is not shy about criticizing those “eco-cities movement’s [whose] current urban redesigns are characteristically overly complex and overly expensive, and are therefore aimed, like much organically grown food and most present ecovillages, at a gentrified market that will not survive the energy descent.” kC



by Karl North

The vulnerability of cities and suburbs in the post-petroleum era has been the object of much debate because their present organization makes their operation so energy-intensive. The debate heretofore has tended to swing between two extremes. One claims that these forms of social organization on the land are so unsustainable that their populations will be forced to abandon them gradually as the energy descent progresses.[i]

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About kulturcritic

With a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, Sandy had a ten-year academic career, with appointments at University of Virginia and the Colorado School of Mines. He spent the next twenty years in executive ranks at several of America’s largest international firms, including Computer Sciences Corporation, Ernst & Young, and General Electric. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America, as well as parts of Eurasia and Africa. For the past five years Sandy has been living in Western Siberia with his wife and young child, teaching at the Pedagogical University and the Altai Institute for Law and Economics in Barnaul, Russia. Published works include VERONIKA: The Siberian's Tale (a novel), (Islands Press 2011) Apocalypse Of The Barbarians: Inquisitions On Empire (Islands Press, 2010), The Recovery of Ecstasy: Notebooks From Siberia (Booksurge, 2009), Recollective Resolve: A Phenomenological Understanding of Time and Myth (Mercer University Press, 1987), Ethical Decisionmaking Styles (Addison-Wesley Press, 1986), and Gandhi in the Postmodern Age: Issues in War and Peace (CSM Press,1984).
This entry was posted in Agriculture, American Dream, civilization, collapse, cultural crisis, earth, global collapse, privatization, progress and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cities and Suburbs in the Energy Descent: Thinking in Scenarios

  1. Dean says:

    Happy Birthday Sandy!! Hope it’s a good one!!

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