Think of a town built around bicycle transportation. That would be Groningen Holland. The low tech human scale side of things needs to be more explored. Check out this mixture of pictures and description. Also some promising looking links.
While I love New Urbanism and lo-tech, we're also going to need plenty of nuclear-grunt to give us time to implement a lot of this. Nuclear's high ERoEI can charge EV's (overnight is best to make use of all that spare electricity for most family cars), can 'de-rust' boron for larger vehicles to burn, and maybe even generate some synfuels for airlines. (Although I'd love to see the economics of that explored more). Having said all that, I'm torn. Because I love the idea of walk-able and bike-able cities. But that's a cultural change, and we've got to keep the economy ticking over as well.
I guess a question is does want to build to a vision of a good society and include technologies that seem appropriate to that vision or radically modify that vision to adapt to a particular super technology of choice. The fact that Technology A is better than Technology B does not exhaust what is a more extensive discussion.
Masdar Fully Charged Part 1: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIaz61zpLfs * Research project to build a sustainable renewable energy city in the desert outside Abu Dhabai. * GFC pushed completion back to 2020 to 2025 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masdar_City * Walkable New Urbanist / ecocity design * Trees & water in shady narrow breezy streets * Buildings shade each other * Rules out oil! * Could be matched with seawater greenhouses producing food in the desert * Emphasis on renewable energy makes them build extremely energy efficient buildings * Nuclear power would give them more reliable and abundant clean energy, but the focus on renewables has made Masdar extremely good at passive solar building * EG: The average temperature inside Masdar is 10 degrees cooler than in nearby Abu Dhabi. * This makes the entire *city* (of 40,000 people) more energy efficient in a desert environment
www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4ohXTnIxzA Part 2 * Clean air: no oil based cars * 45 metre high wind towers catch wind and blow water mist down into the street, cooling the narrow streets * Intelligent management systems monitor the micro-climates in every building across the entire city * In the Middle East 60% of all energy is spent cooling buildings but in Masdar they’ve cut this by 50% * Transport = underground electric driverless PRT * Massive materials recycling systems for all the construction waste (95%) * Concrete is CO2 absorbing * Most steel has to be from recycled metals * Plastics are made into furniture
CONCLUSION: Given the urgency of climate change, we don’t have time to wait as we rebuild all our cities! We still need an urgent deployment of nuclear power. We should still build out our nukes as fast as the French did, moving from 8% nuclear to 70% nuclear in just 10 years. However, better city design from here on in can have incremental permanent changes moving forward. This town plan should serve as a model for all future desert towns across the globe, especially in Australia near Olympic Dam. We could build a comfortable, clean, beautiful desert ecocity near our OPEC-sized uranium mine: but make the whole thing easier on ourselves by just running it off a small modular nuke. There. Job done.
I don't know how extensible the Masdar model is but I wish them the best. I suspect this is not the ideal for where a lot of folks want to go but we are adaptable creatures. The stacked rabbit hutches of Hong Kong should tell us that. I should be more positive. What a great bit of infrastructure integration must be involved.