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April 05, 2006

Seattle 8th Most Prepared U.S. City

If the price of gas goes up to $5 or $8 a gallon, living in Seattle or Portland will be a whole lot easier than living in many other U.S. cities.  SustainLane has rated Seattle #8 on their list and Portland #6 on their list of easiest cities to live and work in if there is a major world political or climatic disruption.  The criteria they looked at were public transportation, sprawl, traffic congestion, access to local food and access to wireless networks.

Every aspect of our economy would be hit.  Here's what they say about what would be needed in oil price-related difficulty:

The top ten cities also combine strong public transportation with access to locally grown fresh food, and most (with the exception of Honolulu) have significant access to local wireless networks for telecommuting. Philadelphia leads the largest 50 cities in the U.S. with the highest combined per capita rate of farmers markets and community gardens. A homegrown system of local farmers and gardeners could prove to be a better alternative than the current system, where food is transported an average of 1500 miles to your dinner plate.

Here's more:

Seattle is the national leader in wireless connectivity, followed closely by San Francisco, Oakland, New York and Portland. Telecommuting could be an important way for large numbers of people to work from home if gas becomes completely unavailable, as it was sometimes during the 1973-74 Oil Embargo.

Finally, the most prepared cities and their metropolitan areas are relatively dense (except Portland) and had low sprawl, with the exception of Seattle. City services, jobs, shopping centers and entertainment are centrally located in all of these top ten cities. That is not the case with many other mid- to-large sized American cities that ranked lower in our analysis.

One commonality each of these ten cities has--though this was not used to determine the ranking--is that each is a major port. Port cities have the natural advantage of receiving imported goods without the added fuel needed to send truck fleets across the nation to landlocked areas. Just as it was for hundreds of years before the twentieth century, a city's geographical location may once again become the most important factor keeping its economy thriving.

Posted by Lynn Allen on April 5, 2006 at 08:59 PM in Miscellany | Permalink

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