Thursday, May 17, 2007


Massive Media Matt on politicians:

I also got a chance to talk to Richardson a bit before the speech and, of course, the trick with something like that is that almost all even moderately successful politicians are pretty charismatic, but nonetheless he seemed very impressive.

This isn't universally true, as some politicians managed to achieve their positions through means other than flesh-pressing, but it is true of a lot of them. It's one reason I don't like talking to them too much. I don't like talking to anyone who is trying to sell me something, really, even if what they're selling is themselves.

But as for this:

I particularly liked his insistence on the idea that most people underplay the role of transportation and land use policy in the energy puzzle. This was appealing because it's what I already thought, but Richardson said it totally unprompted, and it's true. More fuel efficiency is good, and more renewable energy is also good, but we're also going to need people to drive less. And that's going to mean that we'll need policies that make it realistic for people to do so -- mass-transit, but also transit-friendly, high-density constructions.

This is basically the deal. We need to increase the proportion of the population who live in areas where one car per driving age household member isn't a necessity. Well-designed mass transit and pedestrian transit-oriented development is a requirement for that. I think it's wrong to see it simply as encouraging "high-density constructions," as there are plenty of places which are actually quite dense, but are dense in stupid ways and lack adequate transit. The flip side is there are places with adequate transit (certain suburban rail lines) which lack density in the appropriate places (Nimbyism, sometimes understandable, is often the cause).