I thought I’d share a recent report from Joe Cortright (CEOs for Cities) titled Driven to the Brink: How the Gas Price Spike Popped the Housing Bubble and Devalued the Suburbs. Urban sprawl and transportation issues are one of my favorite topics, so this report was right up my alley.
You can find the full report here, but for those of you too lazy to click I’ll highlight some of the interesting bits.
Basically Cortright’s analysis find that the recent collapse of the U.S. housing market has partially obscured an even “tectonic shift in housing demand.” The report finds that housing price declines “are generally far more sever in far-flung suburbs and in metropolitan areas with weak close-in neighborhoods” and:
“Housing in cities and neighborhoods that require lengthy commutes and provide few transportation alternatives to the private vehicle are falling in value more precipitously than in more central, compact and accessible places.”
Basically, all you chumps who bought into the idea of living in the 5,000 sq ft house out in the suburbs are majorly screwed and cities that have good transit are better able to withstand the housing collapse.
So the Government of Alberta is looking at revamping Alberta’s beloved “Wild Rose Country” licence plate and is asking the public for input.
Being the good pseudo-Albertan that I am I thought I would chip in. Here are some possible plates that I think really capture what Alberta is all about.
1. Might as well just say what everyone here thinks. Oh,wait, they say this.
2. Would be a nice alternate to the environment one.
“Johnathan Goodwin can get 100 mpg out of a Lincoln Continental, cut emissions by 80%, and double the horsepower. Does the car business have the guts to follow him?”
Jonathan Goodwin is a self-taught gear-head who is creating a stir in the automotive world by taking production cars, using almost exclusively parts that are widely available, and modifying these cars to create incredibly high efficiency vehicles that run on a variety of fuels (diesel, bio-diesel, hydrogen, recycled cooking oil, you name it). Oh yeah, and all his mods also produce ridiculous improvements in horse-power!
Here are some excerpts from the article.
In reference to the H3 Hummer he is working on:
“Conservatively,” Goodwin muses, scratching his chin, “it’ll get 60 miles to the gallon. With 2,000 foot-pounds of torque. You’ll be able to smoke the tires. And it’s going to be superefficient.”
He laughs. “Think about it: a 5,000-pound vehicle that gets 60 miles to the gallon and does zero to 60 in five seconds!”
On the big three:
Goodwin is doing precisely what the big American automakers have always insisted is impossible. They have long argued that fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel cars are a hard sell because they’re too cramped and meek for our market…
Goodwin’s work proves that a counterattack is possible, and maybe easier than many of us imagined. If the dream is a big, badass ride that’s also clean, well, he’s there already. As he points out, his conversions consist almost entirely of taking stock GM parts and snapping them together in clever new ways. “They could do all this stuff if they wanted to,” he tells me, slapping on a visor and hunching over an arc welder. “The technology has been there forever. They make 90% of the components I use.” He doesn’t have an engineering degree; he didn’t even go to high school: “I’ve just been messing around and seeing what I can do.”
So the question is, does Goodwin’s work offer a way for the Big 3 to achieve remarkable improvements to their dismal fuel efficiency, compete with foreign automakers, and jump-start the shift away from non-renewable fossil fuels?
That all depends on the willingness of the Big 3 to move away from tired excuses and tired thinking. Goodwin shows us that the technology already exists, the skills already exist, and the “bad-ass-ness” Americans seem to crave can co-exist. The only question is, will the Big 3 adopt these ideas before it’s too late – for their companies, for Americans, and for the planet?
Oh, and a great video of one of his mods featured on Pimp My Ride destroying a Lamborghini:
And an interview with Jonathan Goodwin: