June 19, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

“Very Hungry City†Author Austin Troy Grew Up in Brentwood, Went to Yale, Now Teaches in Vermont

Austin TroyQ: Austin, what is your book, “A Very Hungry City,†all about?
A: The Very Hungry City looks at the concept of “urban energy metabolism,†or the efficiency with which cities use energy to function–from heating and powering buildings, to transporting goods and people, to providing water. The book looks at why energy is likely to get more expensive in the future; why energy metabolism will become increasingly important to the economic competitiveness of cities as energy gets more expensive; why cities have different energy metabolisms; and what cities can do to bring down their energy metabolism and become more competitive. The book also looks at what some of the most innovative cities and regions are doing now to bring down their energy hunger. Individual firms and households can upgrade their efficiency relatively quickly. But to make a whol e city or metropolitan region efficient could take a generation.
Q: If you could wave your magic wand and make anything happen, what would you do?
A: I would have the federal government totally re-prioritize what they subsidize and how they invest in infrastructure to direct more resources towards existing urban cores which, to a large extent, have been neglected in recent decades. I would greatly expand transit systems–particularly subways and light rail in larger American cities. I would create regional governance entities similar to what exists in Oregon to help coordinate transportation and urban planning. I would have regional utilities dramatically increase their investments in renewable energy generation as a hedge against rising fossil fuel prices. And I would implement programs that integrate conservation with judicious use of pricing to eliminate waste and bring down household or commercial use of energy, similar to what southern California has successfully done with water use.
Q: You grew up in Brentwood. Tell us about your memories here, and how they maybe tie in with your book.
A: I start the preface of the book with a memory about seeing gas lines at the Brentwood Union 76 station on Bundy in 1979. That made a big impression on me. In many areas–there is simply no alternative to the car and, further, things tend to be far apart. Nonetheless, a place like Brentwood Village is also an example of how you can have a self-contained “urban village†within such a massive metropolitan area. Today, you could feasibly live, work, and shop in Brentwood and rarely use a car. The Village has become a vital core with lots of living options–single family homes, apartments, condos, townhomes–all within walking distance of a vibrant mixed-used commercial core. Many planners in Los Angeles see this “urban village†model as the future of the region. If it works, many riders will be taken off the freeways as people spend more time in their “village.†Brentwood is among several trendsetting districts in LA, in this respectt.
Q: If someone wants to get a copy of your book, how can he or she best go about doing that?
A: Go to the website at http://www.theveryhungrycity.com/. Under the “how to order†tab, there are about 5 ordering options, including Amazon.

About the Author
Austin Troy, PhD is Associate Professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, with an additional appointment in computer science. He was educated at Yale College (B.A.), Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (M.F.), and University of California Berkeley (Ph.D.). To meet the author, see the information below:

MEET THE AUTHOR:
Date: Saturday, March 3rd Time: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Living Green House
2914 Highland Ave.,
Santa Monica
Price $10
To learn more or RSVP, go to: http://www.yalela.org/article.html?aid=178

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