In 1950, only thirty percent of the world's population lived in cities. By 2007, the planet's population has now doubled and today, as many people live in cities as populated the entire planet in 1950. Eighty percent of the planet's greenhouse gases are created by these energy-intensive urban centres. Thus, the key to creating climate change solutions resides with cities. Author and Ottawa city councillor Clive Doucet provides a razor-sharp insider's perspective, stating his central theme: "It's not about planning. It's about politics." Climate change is proceeding so quickly not for lack of knowledge, but because politicians who deviate from the car-based sprawl model cannot get elected.
"Urban Meltdown" describes how we got here, why we got here, and what can be done about it, as evidenced by the author's observations that: economic growth has no built-in environmental accountability; until the political thinking about growth and the progress model itself is changed, our environmental concerns will never be properly addressed; we need a new governance paradigm at all three levels; the cautionary tale of how the 1960s tried to take us down a different route but failed, not for lack of leadership but because the system didn't permit it. "Urban Meltdown" reveals, castigates and inspires. This is an important book for anyone who cares about thinking differently, acting differently and making a difference.
Clive Doucet is a City Councillor in Ottawa. Previously a federal pubic servant, he was Manager of Communications for the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation's Demonstration Group Projects. A lifelong city activist, he is also a poet and writer with numerous books, articles and awards to his credit.