My long shadow, cast on a longer road in Eastern Montana.  Bike touring takes lots of patience.

Scroll down to see my comments on population density.

Compared to many other countries, the US still has a lot of open space, as this Montana road shows.  As population grows, planning for density becomes more important.  This letter is about growth around Bellingham, WA., where I live.  A city in transition.

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From my letters to editors

If all the Japanese were looking for parking

High density housing, in and near Bellingham, is needed.  It is better for the environment than spreading population growth into isolated parts of the county.  When development is spread over a big area, people live further from jobs and services.  Dependency on the automobile increases and traffic congestion is the worst environmental menace this county faces.

Fighting high density housing is a loosing battle.  As population keeps growing, people need places to live or else we face a critical housing shortage.  If we really want to stop growth, we should be fighting the family.  Lifestyles have to change so that raising a family is less desirable.  If more people were gay, or practiced celibacy, population growth would be less of a problem.

Most parts of the world have higher population density than the United States.  According to the NEW BOOK OF WORLD RANKINGS, the U. S. ranks below most countries in the number of people per square kilometer of land area.  As of 1984, we only had 24 people per square kilometer.  Japan is one of the more densely populated counties with 311 people per kilometer.  Thank goodness the Japanese are not all trying to find parking.

As our population keeps growing our lifestyles will have to change.  Planning for pedestrians, bicycles and public transit will be important.  It is better to build apartments, near jobs and bus lines, than develop low density sprawl in remote areas of the county.

Letter written
April 1991

Photos of my bike trip to the Great Lakes