Observations on sustainability and urban planning

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about Skaneateles is how centralized everything is.

For now, I am not living in Skaneateles, so whenever I have business in town, I generally park in the public lot and am able to walk where ever I need to go.

I don’t claim to be an expert on environmentalism or urban planning, but anecdotally and logically, I think being more urban (or more centralized) is the best way to make our society less wasteful and more efficient.

I grew up in an affluent suburban town of Buffalo called Clarence. Clarence in my opinion is the definition of the “sprawl.” With the exception of a few pseudo village-like hamlets, the town was very spread out.

Growing up, if I wanted to go somewhere, I needed to borrow one of my parents’ cars or get a ride from someone. Even a short trip to the store for a loaf of bread would require at least five minutes in a car.

I lived on what you might call a “county road” that was on the outskirts of town. I have always been a believer in commuting by bike, but 55 mph roads with no shoulder are not too safe for cyclists, and these were almost unavoidable.

When I went away to school at Syracuse University, I loved living in a city where I could walk or bike to any destination. Not only was it more convenient, but not having to worry about repairs, maintenance, gas and parking for a car was a great change from the suburban lifestyle I was used to.

Even once I started living off campus and had my own car, I still walked or biked everywhere and only used my car to get to the grocery store or for trips back home. Compared to city life, suburban life just seems wasteful.

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