Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability makes a compelling argument against the anti-urban rhetoric of leaving the city and moving to the country to live a more sustainable, environmentally conscious life. The author, David Owen, outlines for readers why the ideas of living smaller, living closer, and driving less will lead to a more energy efficient and a better human/lifestyle environmental footprint than escaping to the country for open space.
To help solidify his argument, Owen discusses in detail how the current thinking of crowded cities, like New York and Chicago, as nightmares from an ecological standpoint actually misses the entire point of an urban setting. Since people who live an urban lifestyle are essentially living on top of and right next to other people, they are forced to live in smaller spaces and actually consume and use far less than the people who move to the country to spread out. Their per-capita greenhouse gas emissions are overall less than a third of the average Americans. Owen argues that the greenest community in the country is Manhattan and I must admit his argument is very compelling. Urban settings encourage people to rely less heavily on automobiles and more on their own feet, bicycles, or public transportation to get from point A to point B or else they are forced to sit through horribly backed up and congested traffic. It becomes simpler to utilize the public transit system and even walk to work. Owen argues that people spreading throughout the countryside are actually having a greater impact on the environment as they are effectively using up more of the world’s resources than people who live in urban settings.
Pick up David Owen’s Green Metropolis and decide for yourself whether or not living in an urban setting vs. living in a rural setting is a more environmentally stable principle. Owen’s clearly thought out and expressively written arguments must be read in full to understand why he believes living in an asphalt jungle is a greener way to live than leaving the city and spreading your life into the countryside.