As a professional urban designer and partner of the Planning and Design Firm Space Between Design Studio, I am a trained urbanist who specializes in creating walkable urban developments and analyzing existing places to find the barriers preventing livable, walkable urbanism. I can be reached at patrick [at] spacebtw.com
1. There's reason to think that industry estimates of the cost of burying wires are inflated. While the U.S. industry guesstimates costs, a large-scale study of the problem conducted recently in the United Kingdom estimated the cost premium at 4.5 to 5.5 times the cost of overhead wire, not 10.
2. U.S. cost figures are a moving target. American cities are becoming denser as the baby boomers age and opt for central-city living, as I discussed in a previous column. Denser cities require fewer miles of wire to serve their populations.
3. Costs can only be understood in relation to benefits. As the climate warms, storms and power outages are becoming more common. And as the population ages, power failures become more dangerous. In France, where air conditioning is uncommon, a 2003 heat wave left 10,000 people dead, almost all of them elderly. If burying power lines prevented power outages during the hotter summers ahead, the decision could save many lives.
"The American love affair with the car...it's an awful lot like Stockholm Syndrome." ~ Me. In the Sixties the philosopher Ivan Illich showed that the amount of energy invested into cars and road infrastructure would be sufficient to cover the distance by foot - and in a considerably more beautiful and peaceful environment.
In the Sixties, the philosopher Ivan Illich showed that the amount of energy invested into cars and road infrastructure would be sufficient to cover the distance by foot - and in a considerably more beautiful and peaceful environment.