We’re going to make the transition from a cheap-energy world to an energy-efficient world whether we like it or not. Will we have to suffer Kunstler-esque “long emergency” disasters or reorient our economy before it’s too late?

Ryan Avent dreams of a sensible transportation policy:

Imagine a world where the city established dedicated bus and bike lanes, free from automobile traffic. Imagine that drivers who did want to come into the city had to pay a daily toll, and that the proceeds of that toll went toward increased bus, streetcar, and rail capacity in the city and out into the burbs. Does it not seem that everyone, drivers included, would get where they were going a lot faster? That those without cars would enjoy greater mobility, and that the metro area as a whole would spend a lot less on gas?


Vanshnookenraggen sees hope and pain down the road:

Because of high energy costs, living on large lots in the exurbs will no longer be affordable to the middle class. New policies will go into effect that support infill development in older city centers. As the populations of central cities grows again this will put a strain on already fragile infrastructure. Cities will begin rebuilding mass transit systems they ripped out long ago in favor of the car. ...

This will not have come easy. Much like the riots that flamed white flight in the 1960s, new class riots will erupt as the inner city poor feel the pressures of a society that they cannot afford to live in while being pushed out by much wealthier whites.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.