Skip to main content

Easy green stimulus

Sorry to keep banging on this particular patch of dirt, but this previous post is a textbook example of what Yglesias is talking about here:
The photo above is of a building under construction at 2400 14th Street NW here in the District. It's a pretty big multifamily dwelling and the energy cost of heating the units will, due to the efficiencies inherent in multi-family construction, be substantially less than one a single family detached structure would run you. It's also near a Metro line, near the city's most frequent bus service, and walkable to a wide variety of amenities on the 14th Street and U Street corridors. But like basically all DC real estate projects, it won't be built out to the profit-maximizing height because regulations prohibit the construction of tall buildings. This is precisely the same kind of "jobs" scenario as is at issue with Keystone XL—the private sector wants to finance more building trades employment, but government rules won't let it—except instead of a fossil fuel pipeline it's an energy efficient building. And these stories play out all across America.
Obviously my example (at right) is not quite as great as right in downtown DC, but the point still holds. Bigger buildings would mean more and longer construction jobs while getting a significant efficiency boost compared to all those single-family homes. Besides, if one is thinking only slightly more long term, the benefits are even more apparent. More density means more people means more businesses, jobs, and less need for cars. This vacant lot here could be the start of a walkable corridor centered around the metro station, but instead it's just a tiny patch of lame suburbs.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

The Basic Instinct of Socialism

This year I finally decided to stop beating around the bush and start calling myself a democratic socialist. I think the reason for the long hesitation is the very long record of horrifying atrocities carried out by self-described socialist countries. Of course, there is no social system that doesn't have a long, bloody rap sheet, capitalism very much included . But I've never described myself as a capitalist either, and the whole point of socialism is that it's supposed to be better than that. So of course I cannot be a tankie — Stalin and Mao were evil, terrible butchers, some of the worst people who ever lived. There are two basic lessons to be learned from the failures of Soviet and Chinese Communism, I think. One is that Marxism-Leninism is not a just or workable system. One cannot simply skip over capitalist development, and any socialist project must be democratic and preserve basic liberal freedoms. The second, perhaps more profound lesson, is that there is no s

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha