Monday, July 6, 2009

The Issue - Limitless Growth and Consumption

The mid size American city, a metropolitan area that ranges from 100,000 to 1 million people, is home to nearly 30 percent of the current US population. The JCDC’s primary focus is the greater Jackson metropolitan area, which has a population of around 530,000 people, as a means to think about the future of these areas that make up 288 of the 361 metropolitan areas in the US. With the US metropolitan population growing at 3.8 percent per year, the making of a sustainable future depends on the healthy development of these regions. Currently, growth in mid size metropolitan areas suffer from the convergence of three attitudes: an implicit association of sustainability with rural and suburban types of development, faith in the power of technology to solve every problem, and a fear of cities.

To truly be capable of making proposals and projections regarding the Greater Jackson metro area, first we must grasp the issues at hand on the national scale. Research is being conducted to analyze current land use and projected growth patterns. The results are pretty shocking. The US population is currently around 30o,000,000 people with a current average density of 79.6 people per mile. Along with mapping the current land use and density we have found three projections of the population and development growth. As you can see in the graphics depicted here, we are predicted to rapidly continue to consume our countries available land and natural resources. The evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson states that to achieve maximum biodiversity the US should return to 50% developed and 50% natural, but unfortunately this is not the predicted direction.

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