Do American-Style Sustainable Communities Work Abroad?

More

Architecture and urban planning experts discuss whether the United States can successfully export greener living

4840849998_6180e26641_z.jpg
5952260260_25b32958c4.jpg

American culture pervades the world—music, movies, cars, consumption. Not all of it is good.  But surely sustainability is good, yes? While many cultures are ahead of us on the sustainability curve, not all are.

So: Do American ideas of sustainable communities, smart growth, and urbanism work elsewhere? Here are a couple of leading architectural thinkers discussing the challenges. First, my friend Dhiru Thadani is interviewed by another friend, Steve Mouzon, at the annual meeting of the Congress for the New Urbanism earlier this year. Dhiru is an Indian American with a highly experienced perspective on Indian cities and culture:

Next, new urbanist Stefanos Polyzoides discusses some of the traps that await attempts to export U.S.-style progressive planning theory to other cultures:




This post also appears on NRDC's Switchboard.
Images: Vincent Desjardins/flickr; Google Earth

Jump to comments
Presented by

Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. More

Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. He is the author or co-author of Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), and Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009). In 2009, Kaid was voted one of the "top urban thinkers" on Planetizen.com, and he was named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. He blogs at NRDC's Switchboard.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

From This Author

Just In