17 Mar '13, 12pm

The least sustainable city: Phoenix as a harbinger for our hot future

The least sustainable city: Phoenix as a harbinger for our hot future

If cities were stocks, you’d want to short Phoenix. Shutterstock Of course, it’s an easy city to pick on. The nation’s 13th largest metropolitan area (nudging out Detroit) crams 4.3 million people into a low bowl in a hot desert, where horrific heat waves and windstorms visit it regularly. It snuggles next to the nation’s largest nuclear plant and, having exhausted local sources, it depends on an improbable infrastructure to suck water from the distant (and dwindling) Colorado River. In Phoenix, you don’t ask: What could go wrong? You ask: What couldn’t? And that’s the point, really. Phoenix’s multiple vulnerabilities, which are plenty daunting taken one by one, have the capacity to magnify one another, like compounding illnesses. In this regard, it’s a quintessentially modern city, a pyramid of complexities requiring large energy inputs to keep the whole apparatus humming...

Full article: http://grist.org/climate-energy/the-least-sustainable-cit...

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