One of the big problems that human face in the 21st century is the environment. This is a problem on a global scale, national scale, and the local scale. With technological and industrial progress humanity has been able to alter and degrade the environment more than ever before. This is often talked about on the global scale, about global warming. However, it is a problem on the local scale and can be fixed by doing something very simple: population density. Unlike the deadlock facing global warming, local city planners can alleviate environmental problems by using realist approaches rather than Utopian ones.

Cities are often pictured as being a large source of pollution, but this has more to due with the huge population rather than bad practices. If you look at per capita or per household, it is shown that cities are actually very efficient in limiting pollution and greenhouse emissions. This is because of a high population density. City planners should encourage practices and designs that would increase population density in order to improve the environment. While those who believe in garden cities or other utopian designs might not like the aspect of a dense city, it is the best and most feasible way to alleviate environmental concerns. It also fits perfectly in with the neotraditionalist design since it emphasizes the environment and practicability. High population density makes it possible for people to consume less energy — by sharing transit or traveling shorter distances — getting from home to work to the grocery store and back again [1].

Neighborhoods would be practical, mix used, and more walkable, which is what the New Urbanists want. With today’s regulation, emphasis on a higher population density won’t come at a squalid price as it would have decades ago. There would not be a need for a lot of cars traveling large distances since everything will be at a relatively close distance. Therefore the best and most agreeable way to alleviate pollution and minimize environmental waste in cities and on the local level is to increase the population density of municipalities.

[1]- http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/19/the-impressive-environmental-bonus-of-crowded-city-living/

Picture- http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/maps

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