Insufficient solutions
A major opportunity

We've been offered solutions to the environmental challenges. These may provide a partial answer but are obviously not sufficient : 

The electric car has its particular drawbacks: its electricity, if generated in nuclear power plants, accumulates nuclear waste that is dangerous and difficult if not impossible to manage in the very long term (thousands of years...). Furthermore, uranium is not a renewable ressource.

Nuclear power plants produce electricity but accumulate toxic nuclear waste

And, in countries or regions where the electricity is generated by coal or fuel power plants, the electric car would be even more harmful for the environment than conventional gasoline operated cars. Indeed production of electricity causes in that case emission of CO2. The global carbon footprint is then worse since a large part of the energy is subsequently wasted before it gets to feed the car batteries.


Fuel efficient cars can entice people to commute even further away and potentially worsen the urban sprawl. Furthermore, they will have to be smaller and lighter, more vulnerable in case of crash, which will increase significantly the traffic fatalities.

Producing biofuel at a very large scale would deprive mankind of vital agricultural ressources, raise costs of foodstuff and spread hunger. Furthermore, the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, in Mainz, Germany, has established that the production of biofuel has aggravated rather than improved global warming: the massive use of nitrogen-rich fertiliser by farmers allows bacteria in the soil and in water to release N2O (Nitrous Oxide), a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, and which hangs around much longer. Any advantage offered by reduced emissions of CO2 is therefore negated.

New construction efforts boast labels such as "greenbuilding" or "eco-design", but their random juxtaposition most often fails to establish dense mixed use neighborhoods at a human scale. They stand tall and usually deprive each other of access to the winter sun which is low in the sky.

“Solar” or “eco-friendly” detached home designs which are still proposed as the panacea are not really “eco-friendly” since they will be part of the ever extending and detrimental urban sprawl.


Detail of a detached passive-solar house in the urban sprawl (arch. JL Msika): 

the dwellers are still dependent on the automobile

The ultimate outcome of these insufficient solutions, which take for granted the urban sprawl as an unavoidable and permanent necessity, seems to be to postpone, and at the same time jeopardize, the necessary evolution of industrial and civilian strategies for replacing the present massive production of individual detached homes and private cars in favor of the human scaled and diverse Sustainable City incorporating clean and renewable solar energy with close proximity to all work/life functions.

SCP axonometric sketch by JL Msika