New And Notable: L.A. As “Smogtown,” Ethics Of Metropolitan Growth & Integrated Transport

Following the retirement of the MTA’s last diesel bus and our post about the 1943 “birth of smog” in Los angeles, we wanted to highlight the recent acquisition of Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History Of Pollution In Los Angeles.

Encapsulating the worldview, historical context and public psychology of Southern Californians over a number of decades, journalists Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly examine the approaches made to the region’s chronic pollution issues, many of which presage current, nation-wide trends in both pollution and its “greening.”

With casual language and a cinematic sense of the dramatic, Jacobs and Kelly detail the birth of smog on July 8, 1943 to the buildup to the famous orange-brown L.A. smog of the 1950s and ’60s:

“Just at that moment, the beast started to evolve…Sometime in the late 1950s, legend had it that a hen laid an egg that L.A. pollution unaccountably turned green.”

Highlighting the pioneering people and groups that blazed the trail for the environmental movement, the authors also explore the progress and setbacks established by policymakers, including a famously conflicted Ronald Reagan.

Smogtown is not a typical environmentalist diatribe against big business and for government regulation.

The spotlight shines brightly on Southern Californians themselves as contributors to the problem.

Sustainablog provides a very thoughtful and thorough review and discusses the authors critical account of the causes of smog at length.

Finished with a particularly powerful, forward-looking epilogue, this friendly, accessible history should appeal to everyone.

Issues related to metropolitan growth and environmental change are irrefutably at the heart of public debate today.

The Ethics of Metropolitan Growth: The Future Of Our Built Environment explores the ethical implications behind this hugely topical contemporary debate.

Author Robert Kirkman discusses the decisions people make that shape the built environment, from the everyday concerns of homeowners and commuters to grand gestures of public policy.

Decisions about the built environment have taken on a particular urgency in recent months.

The financial crisis that began in the home mortgage system, the instability of fuel prices, and long-term projections of oil depletion and climate change are now intertwined with more conventional concerns about metropolitan growth , such as traffic flow and air quality.

Now, it would seem, is an excellent time for clear thinking about what the built environment can and should become in the future.

Kirkman argues that decisions about how to configure and live within the built environment have ethical dimensions that are sometimes hard to see, questions relating to well-being, justice and sustainability.

This book provides practical guidance for sorting through the ethical implications surrounding metropolitan growth, bringing the most immediate concerns of ordinary people to the center of environmental ethics.

While integrated transport systems are seen to be an ideal, there is a failure to make the transition from policy to practice.

In Integrated Transport: From Policy To Practice, editors Moshe Givoni and David Banister argue that the achievement of sustainable transport is still a dream, as an integrated transport policy is a prerequisite for a sustainable transport system.

In this work, transportation experts from across the world have addressed the questions about what is integration, why is it so important and why is it so hard to achieve?

It provides an in-depth analysis of these issues and it aims to provide a better understanding of the subject, about what should be pursued, about what is realistic to expect, and about how to move forward towards a more integrated provision of transport infrastructure, service and management.