In the New York Times, Paul Krugman praises German urbanism:
If Europe’s example is any guide, here are the two secrets of coping with expensive oil: own fuel-efficient cars, and don’t drive them too much.
Notice that I said that cars should be fuel-efficient — not that people should do without cars altogether. In Germany, as in the United States, the vast majority of families own cars (although German households are less likely than their U.S. counterparts to be multiple-car owners).
But the average German car uses about a quarter less gas per mile than the average American car. By and large, the Germans don’t drive itsy-bitsy toy cars, but they do drive modest-sized passenger vehicles rather than S.U.V.’s and pickup trucks….
Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.
And in the face of rising oil prices, which have left many Americans stranded in suburbia — utterly dependent on their cars, yet having a hard time affording gas — it’s starting to look as if Berlin had the better idea….
[I]f we’re heading for a prolonged era of scarce, expensive oil, Americans will face increasingly strong incentives to start living like Europeans — maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives.