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The Allure of Urban Technology and Green Spaces: Dewey, Leopold and Car-less Suburbs Shane J. Ralston, Ph.D. Penn State University-Hazleton Penn State.

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Presentation on theme: "The Allure of Urban Technology and Green Spaces: Dewey, Leopold and Car-less Suburbs Shane J. Ralston, Ph.D. Penn State University-Hazleton Penn State."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Allure of Urban Technology and Green Spaces: Dewey, Leopold and Car-less Suburbs Shane J. Ralston, Ph.D. Penn State University-Hazleton Penn State University-World Campus

2 Outline of the Paper The problem: Suburban sprawl and automobile dependency  decreased quality of human life, environmental loss – One suggestion: A procedural solution (e.g. Robert Kirkman’s ethical deliberation) – Difficulty: Lacks substance/content Two suggestions with substance: Suburbs with gardens, without cars – Three sources: John Dewey, Aldo Leopold and two experimental suburbs

3 Two Views: Kirkman and Kunstler Robert Kirkman, The Ethics of Metropolitan Growth (2010): – [In] debates over metropolitan growth in the United States... one person can look at a picture of an urban street and see a vibrant economic and cultural life, while another can look at the same picture and see only filth and the threat of being mugged or swindled; each might think the other is deluded. James Howard Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere (1993): – Americans have been living car-centered lives for so long that the collective memory of what used to make a landscape or a townscape or even a suburb humanly rewarding has nearly been erased. The culture of good place-making, like the culture of farming, or agriculture, is a body of knowledge and acquired skills. It is not bred in the bone, and if it is not transmitted from one generation to the next, it is lost.

4 The Problem: Urban Sprawl Four disadvantages Vagueness in the expression’s meaning Land-use patterns and zoning laws Empirical dimension – Limit inefficiencies Normative dimension – Deleterious consequences

5 The Problem: Automobile Dependency Metaphor of drug addiction – Necessity and convenience Vicious cycle – Difficulty of opting out Environmental sustainability – Sim Van der Ryn and Peter Calthorpe on sustainable communities Turning private spaces back into public spaces

6 Smart Growth and Its Critics What is smart growth? Critics of smart growth – Wendell Cox – National Motorists Association – National Center for Public Policy Research/Cato Institute Kirkman’s proposal to improve smart growth – 4 step framework for ethical deliberation – Lacks substantive recommendations

7 Two Philosophical Approaches Dewey’s pragmatism – Experimental inquiry – Ethic of control – Gardens in schools and suburbs Leopold’s environmental ethic – No strict society/environment boundary – Ethic of restraint – Land/earth ethic

8 A New Kind of Suburb Smart Planning – German suburb of Vauban – American suburb of Quarry Village Four Advantages – New directions

9 Conclusion Brief anecdote about Hazleton, PA – Deweyan ethic of control – Leopoldian ethic of restraint Suburbs with gardens and without cars


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