KunstlerCast - Suburban Sprawl: A Tragic Comedy
James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and World Made By Hand, takes on suburban sprawl, disposable architecture and the end of the cheap oil era each week with program host Duncan Crary.

James Howard Kunstler takes a moment to examine where we're at as a culture at the end of 2009. JHK shares his thought process leading up to his 2010 annual forecast. Topics include healthcare, economics and foreign affairs.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_95.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:55pm EDT

James Howard Kunstler explains the story behind Disneyland, Disney World, and Walt Disney's legacy on the American built environment.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_94.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler discusses the built environment on the American college campus and how modernist ideas about architecture are programming young people to become cynical. Kunstler talks about some of the ugliest campuses in the country, as well as some of the best. Even some of the best beaux arts Ivy league campuses have been thrashed by starchitecture, parking lots, and "diversity monomania." Sponsor: PostPeakLiving.com

[Note to re-broadcasters: This show contains one curse word at 12:57 and 26:09]

Direct download: KunstlerCast_93.mp3
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In this in part two of this discussion, James Howard Kunstler predicts how various regions of the United States will fare during the coming energy crisis that he anticipates. Kunstler refers to the coming crisis as "The Long Emergency." In this half of the discussion, Kunstler discusses: the Great Plains, the Upper Midwest, the Mid Atlantic and New England. He also talks about issues with fresh water scarcity. Sponsor: www.postpeakliving.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_92.mp3
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In this in installment, James Howard Kunstler predicts how various regions of the United States will fare during the coming energy crisis that he anticipates. Kunstler refers to the coming crisis as "The Long Emergency." In the first part of this discussion, Kunstler discusses: the Southern States, the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies. A listener caller reacts to the Happy Motoring podcast and Duncan closes the show with the Esso Happy Motoring song.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_91.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler believes that the Happy Motoring project is running out of time. Peak Oil and problems with alternative energy aren't the only issues facing future motorists. He thinks that car ownership will become less democratic in the future as cars become too expensive to buy without the current financing options. Kunstler dismisses Christopher Steiner's "$20 Per Gallon" book for assuming that an orderly procession of events will take us from $3 per gallon to $20. The conversation naturally leads to a discussion of NASCAR, which Kunstler views as a particularly pathetic reincarnation of Roman chariot races that serve to preoccupy the masses as the American empire declines. Lastly, Kunstler addresses a recent International Energy Agency scandal to cover-up the reality of dwindling oil supplies.

Sponsors: http://www.chelseagreen.com and http://www.postpeakliving.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_90.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler thinks that most modern buildings are not really architecture, they're just manufactured boxes. Whether it's suburban houses, or retail stores, the buildings of our everyday environment send the message that we don't care about ourselves or our surroundings. Kunstler tackles cartoon eateries, reflective glass office buildings, and otherwise good new urban buildings that lack proper ornamentation. We hear from a listener caller in Pittsburgh at the end of the show.

Note: curseword at 35:18 mins

Sponsors: Chelsea Green, publisher of James McCommons' "Waiting on a Train" ( http://chelseagreen.com) and Post Peak Living, online courses to prepare for a post-peak world (http://www.postpeakliving.com).

Direct download: KunstlerCast_89.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler speaks about the role of generalists in a world of hyper specialists. Although hyper-specialists are experts in their narrow fields, their work is often disregardful of the larger picture. Traffic engineers, for example, can move huge numbers of cars extremely efficiently, using fine-tuned formulas for curve ratios and grades, but their final product often makes downtowns un-walkable for pedestrians. A sense of hyper-individualism in U.S. culture is another obstacle that stands in the way of thinking about our society and its problems in general terms. At the close of the show, a listener shares his thoughts on the vibrant center city of Philadelphia.

Sponsors: Chelsea Green, publisher of Waiting on a Train by James McCommons, with forward by James Howard Kunstler. http://chelseagreen.com. Additional support from: http://audiblepodcast.com/kunstler

Direct download: KunstlerCast_88.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler thinks Boston is one of the few healthy major cities left in the U.S. He says gentrification has been a good thing for the city. He is disappointed with the outcome of Boston's "big dig" project, though. When the city finally placed a major elevated expressway underground, Boston squandered a great opportunity to repair the street-and-block fabric that the highway had previously disrupted. Instead, so-called environmentalists succeeded in advocating for a half-assed, nebulous "green space." On the subject of ugly architecture, Kunstler says the MIT area in nearby Cambridge is the ugliest academic neighborhood in America. The devil could not have designed a worse campus.

Note: Curse word at 15:47 mins.

Sponsor: http://GrinningPlanet.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_87.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler discusses two major projects that have recently turned 19th century railroad structures into parks: the High Line in lower Manhattan and the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The High Line is a unique park in New York City, built upon a former elevated rail line that used to bring trains through buildings. Although the High Line gives reprieve to New Yorkers, Kunstler finds it to be an accidental freak of urban nature. We would benefit more from the deliberate creation of beautifully designed streets and boulevards at grade level. The Walkway Over the Hudson is an extremely long railroad bridge that now serves as a pedestrian park. On the plus side, Kunstler believes this type of project might protect the bridge so that it doesn't completely fall apart. But he finds it tragic that America has discarded the major investments it once made in a rail system. A listener caller who is an urban planner in Vancouver shares his thoughts on adaptive reuse of buildings.This week's sponsor is Revolution Hall in Troy N.Y., inviting listeners to see Deer Tick, the band that sings the KunstlerCast theme song, this Nov. 4. www.RevolutionHall.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_86.mp3
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Inspired by David Owen's book "Green Metropolis," James Howard Kunstler examines the idea of Manhattan as a "green" city. Kunstler believes that, during his lifetime, New York has never been in as good shape as it is now. But he also thinks it will never be in as good shape again. Financial and energy problems in the future may turn our newest skyscrapers into one-generation buildings, outlandish monuments built during the twilight of an empire. Of all the boroughs, Kunstler thinks Brooklyn may fare the best because of its higher quality urban fabric.

Sponsor: http://www.grinningplanet.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_85.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler believes that urban design will be the next big philosophical battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. One of the most important tasks we will face is determining the size, scale and shape of the 21st Century city. Kunstler says current cities are not scaled to the energy realities of the future. We must downscale, reform and de-automobilze our cities. Urban thinkers and urban planners will serve as our guides throughout that process. In this episode, Kunstler returns to the list of top 100 urban thinkers complied by Planetizen.com to discuss some of the top names on that list. People discussed on this program include: Christopher Alexander, Frederick Law Olmsted, Daniel Burnham, Lewis Mumford, Leon Krier, Le Corbusier, and Ian McHarg.

Sponsor: GrinningPlanet.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_84.mp3
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Planetizen, an urban planning website and book publisher, recently conducted a poll about the Top 100 Urban Thinkers. Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, made #1 on the list. Kunstler explains the story and importance of Jacobs. He also recollects interviewing her in 2000. Although at the time Jacobs was writing a book about the coming energy crisis, Dark Age Ahead, Kunstler said she didn't seem interested in talking about "Long Emergency" issues during their conversation. A listener caller tells us why he thinks Seasame Street is a good model for urbanism.

Sponsor: GrinningPlanet.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_83.mp3
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In this week's episode, listener Frank Aragona of the Agroinnovations Podcast asks James Howard Kunstler to talk about the role of food in Jim's post-peak oil novel World Made By Hand. Although the characters in the novel must overcome many obstacles, the food that they eat is delicious in general and is a vast improvement to the current American diet. Aragona thinks that perhaps food is the triumphant element in the novel. Kunstler talks about how horrendous spectacl and the tragic results that the fast food nation has brought about. He also speaks about the lost ceremony of eating with family and friends. Listeners also comment on the recent podcasts about Los Angeles and white rooftops.

Sponsor: The Agroinnovations Podcast: http://agroinnovations.com/podcast

Direct download: KunstlerCast_82.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler shares his thoughts on Los Angeles, California after a recent visit to Tinseltown. The motoring infrastructure of Los Angeles stretches from horizon to horizon. It is a provisional civilization in which all is subordinate to the car. However, Kunstler believes Los Angeles is more urban than people assume. He was particularly surprised by the pleasant side streets of West Hollywood. But Kunstler wonders how well Los Angeles would fare after even a minor disruption to the supply of cheap gasoline.

Sponsor: New Society Publishers. NewSociety.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_81.mp3
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Professor Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, is advocating for people to paint their rooftops white in order to save on energy and to cut down on global warming. James Howard Kunstler reacts to this idea and also addresses the topic of rooftop gardens, or "green" roofs.

This week's podcast is sponsored by New Society Publishers http://newsociety.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_80.mp3
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A Listener caller asks James Howard Kunstler if now is a good time to emigrate from the U.S. to France. During his response, Kunstler poses the question: exactly what allegiance do you owe to your country if your country is making a foolish spectacle of itself? Kunstler explains why he himself has not packed his bags for Europe. And he covers the possibility of regional autonomy arising in the U.S. if various energy, climate, political and financial crises push us in that direction.

Warning: This episode contains explicit language. Times: 5:13, 21:09, 22:15, 22:24.

Today's sponsor is NewSociety.com, publishers of peak oil thinkers.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_79.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler says one reason why American cities are so dirty is because we do not have a firm agreement about how to treat the public realm in this country. He believes that people will literally trash a place that they don't like or respect. And a lot of American space is difficult to respect. While suburbia contains meticulously groomed private yards, the public highways are often lined with impressive amounts of trash on the shoulder. On a larger scale, many corporations treat the American landscape with a similar disregard. While Kunstler believes that large scale pollution from mega corporations may taper off with the cheap oil supply, he thinks local manufacturing in the future might reintroduce forms of pollution that haven't been seen in the U.S. for a while.

Note: The voice of Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk appears in this episode, courtesy of Planetizen, publisher of The Story of Sprawl DVD. KunstlerCast listeners receive a $5 discount when purchasing this DVD by using the discount code FIESTA: http://www.planetizen.com/DVD

SPONSOR: This week's sponsor is New Society Publishers, the leading publisher of Peak Oil thinkers such as Dmitry Orlov, Richard Heinberg, Sharon Astyk and Michael Ruppert. NewSociety.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_78.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler believes that stupid Americans are exerting their political and cultural tyranny over the rest of us. No other society has produced a larger group of stupid people with as much money and means to express their thoughts, pleasures, ideas, biases, delights, and hatreds in things that can be broadcast, built or in some way imposed on other people. Those who object to this situation are called elitist, he says. JHK also explores the diminishing returns of information technology and the Internet.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_77.mp3
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A "man cave" discovered in a government complex made national news earlier this month. Eminent new urbanist planner Andres Duany was prompted to speak out in defense of the man cave and "male space" in general, which he sees as a disappearing habitat in modern America. James Howard Kunstler and host Duncan Crary listen to a recording of Duany's "The Dilemma of Male Space" and further explore the concept of male space. Not only does Kunstler believe that male space is disappearing in suburbia, but he thinks adult space in general is endangered. Info at http://kunstlercast.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_76.mp3
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Even during a recession, Americans are pouring into our nation's "wilderness areas" with jet skis and cigarette boats in tow. After returning home from a visit to the Adirondack Mountains of New York, James Howard Kunstler serves up some thoughts on the gas guzzling toys we use to get off on in nature. Although we have a residual memory of what the American wilderness used to be like before World War II, the reality of our "nature areas" today is much different. Plastic weenie stands, ice cream emporiums and gift shops have invaded the woods. But Kunstler believes the days of traffic jams in Yosemite are numbered. This week's sponsor: www.PostPeakLiving.com

Direct download: KunstlerCast_75.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler explores the possibility of transitioning our society from fossil fuels to one that runs on electricity. This discussion is based on ideas presented in an episode of NOVA titled "Car of the Future" (Season 33, Episode 3). This episode of the KunstlerCast is sponsored by The Stakeholders, Inc.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_74.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler believes that the consumer credit economy is over and that we are now moving on to the next phase of the U.S. economy. Kunstler provides some historical context on our current global economy and muses on the relationship between over-complexity and diminishing returns, which he believes is the "hallmark of all civilizations that come to grief."

Direct download: KunstlerCast_73.mp3
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This May, the Committee on Environmental Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics confirmed that the design of U.S. communities (i.e. car-dependent suburbia) negatively affects the health of children (i.e. makes them obese). James Howard Kunstler explores the relationship between suburban sprawl and the declining health of Americans. SPONSORSHIP INFO: This week's sponsor is PostPeakLiving.com, offering online courses that prepare you for the post peak oil world. Use "KunstlerCast" as your discount code.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_72.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler and other commentators are often called "doomers" for their seemingly bleak outlook for modern society after the peak of oil production. Kunstler gives a brief introduction to other "doomer" authors, including Dmitri Orlov, John Michal Greer, Jay Hanson, and James Lovelock. Though Kunstler rejects the doomer label, he does believe that we are involved in a human system that needs to be severely pruned. He believes that resurrection and redemption are great themes in the human story and that civilization has a few more cycles to go.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_71.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler joins host Duncan Crary for a quick KunstlerCast "grunt" to react to the recent death of pop star Michael Jackson. Kunstler thinks Michael Jackson represents many of the bad choices that America made about itself and also its difficulty in telling the truth about it. To read Kunstler's recent obituary for Jackson, visit http://kunstler.com/blog. The KunstlerCast will return in full next Thursday on July 16.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_Grunt_Jacko.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler takes a look at various types of public artwork on display in Troy NY, a small American city. Kunstler notes that many public murals in America attempt to put a human face in places where people are noticeably absent. He notices that 20th century commercial advertisements painted on building exteriors exhibit more skill than most 21st century "art." He analyzes a painted steel, corporate sculpture that adorns the public face of glass box corporate building. He also discusses the role that formal statues play in adorning public squares. Visit http://KunstlerCast.com to view photographs.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_70.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler discusses public art in our cities and towns. Modern public art often lacks artistry and is an ironic representation of our 21st century junk empire. But Kunstler says we don't need any more irony. We need a dignified public realm. Instead of engaging amateurs and children to splash paint on the blank walls of publicly facing buildings, we need to stop creating blank walls in the first place. Even the skilled work of professional muralists often results in little more than a neurotic attempt to give our deactivated streets the appearance of life, when the real problem is that our streets are dead. Kunstler relates these issues to Potemkin villages, trips to Disneyland and do-it-yourself home improvement kits.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_69.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler addresses some issues regarding historic preservation. Kunstler supports historic preservation, because adaptive reuse is part of what makes the great European cities so rewarding to be in. According to Kunstler, the historic preservation movement really ramped up in the U.S. after the destruction of Penn Station in New York City. At times the historic preservation movement has gotten hysterical to save any scrap of anything built before WWII. But Kunstler believes that hysteria is understandable when one considers that modern Americans do not create buildings that are as good as the old buildings we are losing. Other topics include facade preservation, cheap cladding, a return of traditional building materials, passive heating, cooling and energy conservation.
Follow along with this program with Google Street View windows at http://kunstlercast.com
Sponsor: PostPeakLiving.com. Music provided by IODA Promonet.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_68.mp3
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New Urbanist Planner and Author Jaime Correa speaks about urban planning in the peak oil era. KunstlerCast Host Duncan Crary recorded Correa's talk on May 28 at the Albany Roundtable in Albany, N.Y. Correa speaks about how the end of cheap oil will affect communities in the future. He describes his peak oil action plan, which he calls The 40 Percent Plan. As urban communities begin to contract in the future, Correa has some ideas about what people need to do to successfully prepare for the future. James Howard Kunstler introduces Correa and chats with Crary about the role that Correa has played in the New Urbanism. Kunstler also responds to a question posed to him by Correa about his preparations for peak oil.
Note: Curse words and adult language occur at 27:30, 27:37 and 30:17
Websites: http://correa-associates.com | http://albanyroundtable.com
This week's sponsor is PostPeakLiving.com, offering online courses that prepare you for the post peak oil world.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_67.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler and host Duncan Crary take a moment to welcome new listeners and explain what the KunstlerCast is about. Kunstler gives a brief overview of topics covered in this program series and explains why these topics are important. Crary explains how and where to listen to the podcast. The program ends with two listener calls responding to the recent show about Detroit. NOTE: The KunstlerCast will take next week off and will resume on June 11. In the meantime, you can listen to JHK and Duncan on the C-realm Podcast at http://c-realmpodcast.podomatic.com/

Direct download: KunstlerCast_66.mp3
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At the suggestion of a listener caller, James Howard Kunstler gives a virtual walking tour of Detroit, Michigan using Google Street View. Google Street View is an interactive photographic map that allows users to view photographs of streets and buildings in many cities throughout the world. Users can follow along with this program using the embedded Google Street View windows in the show notes for this episode at http://kunstlercast.com. During this "walking" tour, Kunstler examines the Michigan Central Depot Train Station, Tiger Stadium, the Renaissance Center, the People Mover, The Joe Louis Arena (aka the Aztec Mall of Death), The Grand Circus, the Fillmore and Fox theaters, and the Detroit waterfront.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_65.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler talks about two former industrial cities undergoing massive contractions: Flint, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio . The local governments in both cities have adopted policies to manage the contraction to reduce public safety issues caused by large abandoned areas within their borders. Kunstler then responds to a listener call from suburban Chicago about the prospects of farming in the post-cheap oil suburbs. The conversation then turns to the future of former city farms. Sponsorship for this podcast comes from Audible. Visit http://audiblepodcast.com/kunstler for a free audio book download and 14-day trial.

Music supplied by IODA Promonet.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_64.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler responds to a listener call about the 10 "high speed" rail corridors the Obama administration is seeking to restore in the U.S. The phrase high-speed rail is a little misleading, though, because what Obama is looking to do with rail in this country is actually just bring it back up to "Bulgarian" standards. These passenger rail upgrades and restorations will service trains that travel around 100 miles per hour, not nearly as fast as the high speed trains in Europe or Japan.

Sponsorship of this podcast comes from the Congress for the New Urbanism. www.cnu.org

Direct download: KunstlerCast_63.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler talks about the recent outbreak of swine flu and the increased attention to modern-day pirates. Several bloggers have noted some similarities between current headlines and the scenario in Kunstler's novel, World Made By Hand, in which a severe economic downturn is followed by a deadly Mexican flu epidemic. A few years ago, Kunstler took some heat from critics for his chapter in The Long Emergency that addressed the potential threat of Asian pirates in the Pacific Northwest. Now that piracy is in the news, some people are going "hmmmm." The show closes with a listener call responding to the KunstlerCast about bad behavior and urban policing. Sponsorship for this podcast comes from The Congress for The New Urbanism, www.cnu.org

Direct download: KunstlerCast_62.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:50am EDT

Host Duncan Crary has been taking James Howard Kunstler's ideas about water transport seriously. This Spring, Duncan is bringing back passenger riverboat commuting service to the Hudson River in Albany. On May 13, Duncan is hosting a day where people can commute to and from work on board the Dutch Apple between the cities of Albany and Troy NY. Kunstler talks with Duncan about this project. People take ferries to work every day in other regions and it's a rewarding experience that can be replicated. On the topic of alternative commuting, Kunstler addresses the notion that telecommuting will solve our impending energy woes. Kunstler doesn't think that telecommuting will save us, but a combination of alternative commuting that includes some telecommuting might help.

Support for this podcast comes from the Congress for New Urbanism, www.cnu.org, and Audible http://www.audiblepodcast.com/kunstler,

Direct download: KunstlerCast_61.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler often advocates for a return to urban living arrangements. But urban living often bring residents into close proximity to bad behavior. The situation can be especially frightening when people inhabit cities that aren't fully repopulated yet. Suburban style "car cop" policing causes additional problems because car culture can foster bad behavior from the police themselves. Kunstler believes that police on foot and horse would lead to more productive policing and would also allow citizens to police the police. Later Kunstler speaks about the "Broken Window Theory." Host Duncan Crary asks Kunstler about the obligation of citizens to address and correct bad behavior when they encounter it. In his response, Kunstler touches upon the underlying racial issues that are sometimes present in these situations. Finally, Kunstler muses on the future of community policing after insolvent municipalities can no longer afford to pay for overwhelming vehicular policing styles. A listener caller from Portland, Maine ends the show with thoughts on "driving" bicycles on the street. This episode is sponsored by the Congress for the New Urbanism. Learn more at www.cnu17.org

Direct download: KunstlerCast_60.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler responds to a listener who doesn't understand why Jim sounds kind of down on bicycle transportation. Kunstler clarifies his position on bicycles -- he's a big supporter of bicycle use, but he doesn't know if Americans will support bicycle projects with so many highways and bridges in disrepair. While places like Amsterdam have excellent bicycle facilities that are integrated into their urban fabric, Kunstler believes the most successful bicycle facilities in the U.S. are separate from the street pattern. He also warns of overly ambitious, high tech plans regarding bicycle trail projects. Lastly he discusses New York City's recent plans to turn a portion of Broadway into a bicycle/pedestrian way, and the bicycle sharing program in Paris. A listener call from a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright defends and clarifies Wright's feelings about cities. Sponsorship of this podcast comes from The Congress for New Urbanism.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_59.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler reports on two recent trips he took. First he talks about his appearance at the annual Aspen Institute Environmental Forum, where talk of alternative fuel, and other ways to keep our happy motoring scene running, dominated the talks about peak oil. For the remainder of this program Kunstler reports on his recent trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he inspected a 35-acre new urbanist neighborhood project. Kunstler describes his urban planning and cultural observations of this region of the world.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_58.mp3
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In this short podcast, James Howard Kunstler returns briefly to the topic of New Orleans. This time he discusses the future of the Port of New Orleans. In the second half of this program, we hear from listeners around the country. One listener from New Orleans doesn't think Jim gave her city a fair shake. She says New Orleans is everything new urbanists want in a community -- street cars, walkable streets and places worth caring about -- except it's old urbanism, not new urbanism. Other listeners respond to the virtual tour of Paris, healthcare and population decline, Jim and Duncan's encounter with the Mayor of Troy, finding meaningful work in the new economy and the recent space shuttle blast off.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_57.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:55am EDT

At the suggestion of a listener caller, James Howard Kunstler gives a virtual walking tour of Paris, France using Google Street View. Google Street View is an interactive photographic map that allows users to view photographs of streets and buildings in many cities throughout the world. Users can follow along with this program using the embedded Google Street View windows in the episode notes for show #56 at KunstlerCast.com.

Music provided by IODA Promonet.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_56.mp3
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At the suggestion of a listener, James Howard Kunstler muses on the future of animal powered transportation in the future. He briefly describes the systems required to maintain a horse-drawn transportation system. The conversation leads to a discussion about finding meaningful work in the new economy. Kunstler believes that as the old economy dwindles, there will be many opportunities for local entrepreneurs to create useful work in their communities. The discussion also covers the struggling media industry and new opportunities for weekly community publications. Kunstler talks about his local print newsletter project, Civitas. Host Duncan Crary asks Kunstler if the urban planning profession may receive a boom with the new economic stimulus and a renewed focus on reactivating forlorn downtowns. Kunstler thinks urban planning will be reinserted into American culture less formally than it was in the past. The show closes with a listener comment from an architect who was laid off and found a creative way to work for himself. Released: March 12, 2009.

Theme music provided by IODA Promonet.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_55.mp3
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James Howard Kunstler explores the topic of building traditional town centers in suburbia, where town centers are typically absent. Though it may be possible to retrofit the suburbs, Kunstler doesn't believe that Americans will have the money to remake some of the worst suburbs into more traditional, mixed-use neighborhoods...even if they wanted to in the first place. As more and more suburbanites find themselves unemployed, some of the more isolated housing subdivisions are simply being abandoned. In the second half of this podcast Kunstler explores the topic of future population decline in the United States. Kunstler believes that Americans will face enormous problems producing food for its population as financial problems make agribusiness increasingly expensive. Moreover, suburbia has destroyed much of America's agricultural land, which most people wouldn't know how to farm anyway.

Theme music provided by IODA Promonet.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_54.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:42am EDT

A listener asks James Howard Kunstler to react to the Feb. 9 fire that destroyed a Beijing building by Dutch starchitect Rem Koolhaas. Kunstler believes many famous architects, including Koolhaas, often strive to confound people in order to appear supernaturally brilliant. It's all in the service of grandiosity and narcissism, though. Rather than attempting to disturb our expectations, architects should strive to give us buildings that are neurologically comprehensible and that satisfy our need for cultural orientation. Kunstler also takes shots at a proposed skyscraper in Boston and the Southern Poverty Law Center. **Tim Halber, managing editor of Planetizen, responds in a listener comment to Duncan's recent comments about the failures of new urbanism.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_53.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:26am EDT

James Howard Kunstler discusses the issue of rebuilding New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Legal disputes, government inefficiency and suburban mindsets have stood in the way of constructing traditional neighborhoods in New Orleans. While the charming urban fabric of the French Quarter and the Garden District still remains, Kunstler believes that New Orleans is likely to be a much smaller city than it was in the 20th century. Much of the cultural programming that emerged in the poorer neighborhoods of New Orleans may not return. Ultimately, the realities of climate and weather may determine the fate of the Crescent City. **To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the KunstlerCast, host Duncan Crary joins the band Deer Tick for a live concert. Deer Tick performs the theme song for the KunstlerCast.Released: Feb. 19, 2009.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_52.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:02am EDT

James Howard Kunstler is back from a visit to the American South. He reports on two New Urbanist developments outside of Montgomery, Alabama. In many ways Kunstler believes that the new urbanist model of building 400-acre “traditional neighborhoods” out in the green fields of suburbia is over. He explains the relationship between new urbanism, suburbanism and just plain old urbanism. Kunstler’s journey also took him to revisit Seaside, Florida, one of the most famous new urbanist projects produced by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. Many people criticize Seaside for being elite and artificial. But Kunstler says Seaside will probably feel more authentic as it ages naturally. Released: Feb. 12, 2009.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_51.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:13am EDT

Many everyday items in our lives are made from petroleum byproducts like plastic. But James Howard Kunstler believes that the rising costs of petroleum will change our relationship to plastic products. In the future, people might actually start repairing items rather than just throwing them away. While on the topic of plastic, Kunstler takes on one of the staples of suburban life: vinyl siding. In particular, he explains why vinyl siding sucks so much.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_49.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:45am EDT

James Howard Kunstler tells the story of how he came to learn about peak oil while writing about suburban sprawl. Topics include The Yom Kippur War, The Hubbert's Curve, the New Urbanists and the strong relationship between suburban sprawl and diminishing supplies of cheap fossil fuel. Kunstler explains the chronology and relationship between all four of his nonfiction books.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_48.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:02pm EDT

James Howard Kunstler believes the credit orgy that was the background and basis for our era is over. It will become increasingly harder to lend money into existence and Americans will probably have to pay as they go with what they have. Kunstler explores the historical relationship between credit and the creation of suburbia. But he does not know how our current credit problems will stimulate people to change the physical arrangements of their lives. He assumes, however, that Americans will be dragged kicking and screaming from the happy motoring commuter experience. Released: January 15, 2009.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_47.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:27am EDT

A listener caller asks James Howard Kunstler about President-elect Barack Obama's massive proposed stimulus package, which will probably be used to rebuild America's highways. Along with the auto industry bailout, Kunstler thinks this major proposed investment in our highway infrastructure may be a last ditch effort to sustain the unsustainable. Americans have invested so much of their wealth and identity into their happy motoring suburban commuter system for daily life that they cannot imagine letting go of it or even substantially reforming it. Kunstler also talks about passenger rail, light rail and streetcars. He also strays into the thickets of futurology to talk about 21 century trans oceanic zeppelins. A listener caller ends the program with his thoughts on efforts to create local currencies, such as the Berkshares in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts.

Direct download: KunstlerCast_46.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:12am EDT

In this abbreviated edition, James Howard Kunstler shares his New Year’s resolutions for 2009. He also sets some personal goals for finishing the sequel to his post oil novel, World Made by Hand, and gives some details on what that book will be about. For the rest of this short show Duncan answers some listener questions about the podcast.

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Direct download: KunstlerCast_45.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT