OK, so I'm behind the curve on this one - I just saw, on DVD, the Canadian documentary "The End of Suburbia." But seeing it three years after its release in 2004, it is even more powerful. Case in point: There are shots of gas station prices that show gas at $1.65, $1.85...and it seems so CHEAP! And it was. And it isn't anymore. It's DOWN a bit lately, and it's $3.25 or so. Which means the price has nearly doubled since the film was made.
The point of the film, for those who haven't seen or read about it, is that we have passed what is called "peak oil," meaning that we have passed the point where we can easily get oil out of the ground, and that it's going to get more expensive, and rarer. AND that our entire economy, from transport to lifestyle to food, is going to suffer. And WE are going to suffer. Especially if we're stranded in the suburbs.
This is a huge subject - the filmmakers address BushCo's War for Oil, AKA, the Iraq War, among other things - and I'm not going to go into it any further here. Suffice to say it's worth seeing, and if this is new information to you, you're never going to see the suburbs the same way again.
But the reason it's on Blogging the Grid is that it reinforces one of the reasons I live in the Grid, and not in the suburbs where I was raised. This will be the nicest place to live when gas gets to $8 and $10 a gallon, or not available dependably. In the '70s, some of us saw this coming, but we were ahead of the curve, and we thought that the best place to live would be somewhere out in the country, growing your own food, etc. "Survivalism" it was called.
But I'm a city kid, and this is where I live, where I WANT to live. The country is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. The suburbs, which were originally sold - are still being sold - as a combination of city and country, are actually neither. Look at the nightmare scenarios being built in Natomas, Lincoln, etc. You need a car to do everything. What if you don't have gas to fuel your car? Or can't afford it?
Sacramento's Grid is just about perfectly suited, even from a survivalist point of view. We have water (forget the rivers - if you live on the bottom land, and we do, you just drill DOWN), we are at a major crossroads, and we can walk or ride bikes to just about anything we might NEED. (If we "need" to go surfing or skiing or to the opera, we'll have to make other arrangements.) Stores, doctors, gyms, offices, theatres, movies, shops...it's all here.
And it's going to be tough even here. But it feels good to be here long term, and it feels good that I can ride my bike just about everywhere, and DO. (It especially feels good on a budget.)
So...The Grid is the new frontier, and if you're planning for the future, or your friends are, tell them that the future is downtown, and not just because there are a lot of bars. It's because there's a lot of everything, and you can get to it without burning up more oil. And that is a very good thing NOW, and will only get better in the daunting future portrayed in "The End of Suburbia." Rent it.