MISSING TIME. Time, to their great credit, has put out a special double issue this week on global warming and what you can do to prevent it. But their exhaustive list (it includes 25 items) contains some rather curiously small suggestions and omits one crucial big one. While they had room to encourage their readers to create a "green wedding," Time did not discuss the role of urban planning.
It is certainly wise to suggest, as Time does, that Americans move into apartment buildings and take mass transit. But Americans cannot live an eco-friendly, auto-independent lifestyle under current zoning restrictions. Right now, it is illegal to build dense apartment buildings or row houses in much of the country, illegal to build mixed-use commercial and residential districts, and all new shopping centers take the form of strip mall development because of the minimum parking requirements. Making the very life choices that Time correctly recommends will also require that citizens agitate on the local and state level for zoning and transit funding policy changes to make those choices feasible for the majority of Americans.