Thursday, December 21, 2006
Power Outages: another argument against sprawl
Power outages that have plagued western Washington after the December 15 2006 windstorm could be used to illustrate a problem with sprawl. It's a problem with low density development where houses are spaced far apart among a lot of large trees. Power lines have to be strung long distances to service each resident.
It seemed like most of the denser, more urban neighborhoods didn't suffer outages, or the outages were shorter lived. In denser neighborhoods, lines are less vulnerable to large trees. Also there can be more redundancy in lines so if one goes down, power can be rerouted over an alternative path; sort of like how the Internet works.
This is another reason to encourage more compact development.
Image from my mimeographed newsletter of 1981.