A good piece from The New Yorker on what makes dense urban areas intrinsically better for the environment than suburbia or back-to-the-land fantasies. More people closer together need less transportation to go about their daily lives. High density buildings need less energy to stay comfortable inside because they have less surface area for the enclosed useful space. More resources can be effectively shared when lots of people are close together. The author, David Owen, has a whole book on the topic, entitled Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability. Cities have their problems, but often they aren’t the result of density directly. Poor air quality in cities, for instance, is almost entirely the fault of motor vehicles.