Ministry: No homes for motorists. | Ideas from Brussels and York | Brussels Blog

Ministry: No homes for motorists. | Brussels Blog

Ministry: No homes for motorists.

posted by on 11th Aug 2018

Ministry of Housing: No homes for motorists.

Derwenthorpe: Pleasant but unsustainable

It’s hard to see that the lifestyles of motorists are compatible with continued life on Earth.

Let me give an example: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation got researchers at the University of York to look at the new development at Derwenthorpe, York, using their REAP Petite software. Derwenthorpe was meant to be sustainable and have a low carbon footprint but it achieved a planet-destroying footprint of 14.52 tonnes CO2e per resident per year. This was worse than the average for York as a whole, which was still planet-destroying at 14.30 tonnes CO2e.

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Population is a planet emergency but …

posted by on 3rd Aug 2018

Population is a planet emergency but …

Whataboutery and the carbon cost of children

I do not sneer at ‘whataboutery’, the practice of responding to an accusation by making a counter-accusation. An example:

Diesel cars kill tens of thousands due to pollution – but what about driving petrol cars. That is worse because they cause greater CO2 emissions, which will kill many more through climate change.

There is an excellent piece by Peter Hitchens defending whataboutery. He quotes The Gospel according to St Matthew Chapter 7, vv 3-5, where:

Our Lord says : ‘And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

However, grossly exaggerated claims about the carbon cost of having children can cause a dangerous form of whataboutery:

I’m OK trashing the climate but you have children and that’s much worse.

Here is the example that I came across recently:

A teacher with no children goes on several big flights a year. She has a lifestyle far more sustainable than a family of 5, no matter how little they travel.

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Land, labour and food

posted by on 23rd Jun 2018


Land, labour and food

… and the greenbelt

Peter Breugel showed labour can have it’s own value – even if productivity is low.

Let’s build on the polluted greenbelt

A common argument in favour of greenbelt policy is that land is required for food production with a rising world population. However, Professor Cheshire points out horsey culture and golf courses on greenbelt land do not produce food. There is also the issue of food wastage and the destruction of food-value with the conversion of economically ‘inferior’ foods to ‘superior’ foods as discussed in It’s the poor that starve. Another post Pollution in the countryside discussed the destructive effects of modern farming methods on medium term soil fertility.

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Car-free estates of wooden prefabs with inbuilt market gardens.

posted by on 16th May 2018

I have a series of posts on looking for solutions to the housing crisis. Solutions should be cheap, friendly and don’t screw the world up. Using the Sherlock Homes method of eliminating the impossible, the best answer so far seems to be car-free estates of wooden prefabs – with inbuilt market gardens.

Improve these prefabs with modern cross-ply timber…

and add market gardens.

Could this change the way we live?

I hope so.

Anyway please look at Housing – part 16: Cheap, neighbourly and doesn’t screw the world up.

Brilliant climate talk by Kevin Anderson

posted by on 12th May 2018

Brilliant climate talk by Kevin Anderson

‘If you drink half a litre of beer with a politician or
scientist they will tell you how bad it is – but if you
put a microphone there they will tell you some
optimistic nonsense about climate change.’

So now let’s have an index for #CarbonBudgetMorality as outlined in Are you evil or very evil?

The remaining carbon budget morality index

This would help any campaign to plan new settlements which are cheap, friendly and don’t screw the climate.  Most new settlements are in the range ‘Evil’ or above – even so-called eco-settlements.

Car-free cities and pedestrian apartheid

posted by on 8th May 2018

Car-free cities and pedestrian apartheid


Car Trouble: And How to Fix It from Carfree Cities on Vimeo.

Mixing motorists and non-motorists.

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Are you evil or very evil?

posted by on 23rd Feb 2018


Are you evil, or very evil?

The War on Evil

The Carbon Budget Morality Index (CBMI) is an attempt to link the your effects on climate change with a score estimating your morality – so you can see how evil you are.

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Before the robots take all our jobs

posted by on 4th Feb 2018


Before the robots take all our jobs

This outlines an old proposal of mine to modify VAT to create jobs.

The proposal gives extra flexibility to the management of the economy, making it easier to achieve full employment.

Below are two pieces I had published in the Computer Weekly in 1978. The first is an introduction from something that got rather technical and the second more concise description of the proposal I have been putting forward since the early 1970s.

How to create more jobs without inflation

Computer Weekly, October 1978


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Mixed communities – a failed policy

posted by on 2nd Jan 2018


Mixed communities – a failed policy

The “mixed communities” paradigm for housing development aimed to mix poorer people with more affluent neighbours to avoid the problems of large sink estates. It has been central to housing policy for more than a decade. A Parliamentary Select Committee in 2003 reported:

90. Several witnesses drew attention to the mistakes of the 1950s and 1960s when large council estates were built which tended to include high concentrations of poorer households. In its new programme, the Government must avoid creating ghettos by ensuring that different tenures are integrated into new developments. New approaches are required by private developers and housing associations to create mixed tenure schemes.

The decline of council housing

During the 1980s many council estates declined. The rot really set in with Thatcher’s housing policy as Andy Beckett outlined in a Guardian article, The right to buy: the housing crisis that Thatcher built:

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Pedestrian apartheid – RSPCA News (1976)

posted by on 26th Dec 2017

Pedestrian Apartheid

Separate developments for non-motorists

Hazebrouck before the car

In 1976, I wrote a note, “RSPCA News”, about developments for non-motorists, where they are separated from motorists. This outlined financial and legal mechanisms that could make non-motorist developments work.

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