Pasadena Wednesday Night

On March 6th, I will hitch a ride to Pasadena to join a distinguished panel to participate in a KPCC Event titled; “Global Climate Change: Can Humanity Survive?”.   I will stay focus on small ball adaptation efforts.   If Southern California faces increased drought risk, how will we price scarce water?  If we face sea level rise, how will we zone in new flood zones?  Will insurance companies be allowed to “price gouge” and price discriminate to incentivize households to invest in precautions to reduce flood risk?   If electricity demand is likely to soar in summer, will we enroll more businesses and households on dynamic pricing to make sure the grid doesn’t blackout at peak demand?  Have we developed robust information sharing systems to keep households informed in real time about emerging quality of life threats?  Will we change zoning rules to allow for higher density close to the temperate Ocean areas?   Think of how many golf courses could be converted into Hong Kong density.  In this case, the LA Subway would be used!   We are always rebuilding our cities.  We have the right incentives to incorporate future expectations of challenges into our investment choices today.  This is the logic of Climatopolis.  I hope to meet a couple of you Wednesday night?

Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

10 thoughts on “Pasadena Wednesday Night”

  1. What about desalinization plants, thin film solar on all our industrial buildings, vertical farming, thorium power plants, green roofs, WPA style programs to get our 12% unemployment down? This is California, not the federal government.

    1. In addition to technological advances such as thin film solar and roof tiles plus PV window film, way cheaper solutions such as arranging and ensuring our built environment to receive sunlight like the ancients did (240 sf/house is a good start), mandating minimum efficiencies such as wall (R-23) and roof (R-40) insulation and either roof overhangs or awnings over windows.

      We can do these simple land-use regulations today twenty-five years ago.

  2. I don’t know, professor. Is there going to be free parking? ; > Naturally I don’t take public transit at night since it’s not safe.

    Also, here’s my question. I get that, at least with our current technology, there are supposed to be huge eco advantages to having most people live in cities. But where does it say that we all have to cram into a few massive cities? If we live on 2 or 3% of our land, what is the “right” number we’re supposed to squeeze ourselves into? Is it, 2.89%? And whose _________ do these numbers get pulled out of?

    Mind you, I won’t be going along with a lot of this. But, I recycle! So there.

    1. Aginder 21 will mandate when you get crammed into cities and your suburban home with picket fence gets bulldozed (don’t ask where your dog is going). So I guess it’s a Yew-Enn bureaucrat’s faceless ____ that will come out of.

    2. Ah, the “cramming into cities” argument. I live in Evanston, just north of Chicago, and have three supermarkets within a few blocks, a Trader Joe’s moving in even closer, the Y a few blocks away, the CTA and Metra for going downtown, a few dozen restaurants in walking distance, a park one block away that my grandkids love, the beach a quarter-mile west, both airports accessible by public transit (we usually take a cab when we have lots of luggage). The advantages aren’t just ecological, but psychological. And public transit at night is safe, since so many people use it.

      1. MikeM: I’m glad your local pols and planning ags don’t s*ck. Mine do. And no, I can’t just vote them out of office. It’s complicated.

    3. Pasadena’s Gold Line is pretty safe. The Pasadena stops are in nice neighborhoods with plenty of folks walking about. The LA subway system is pretty safe, overall. There has been exactly one murder on the LA subway / light rail system since it has opened in 1993.
      As for the eco advantages, it’s less “we all must be in massive urban areas like Manhattan”, more that moderate density is more sustainable than suburban sprawl (for the infrastructure needed to service the area, energy efficiency, and the available commercial activities, likes shops and restaurants, that will be within a mile of a residence). One of the biggest things needed is the repeal of regulations that require sprawl, and prohibit density. People who complain about ‘social engineering’ always forget that the engineering already exists and is typically heavily weighed towards mandating and/or subsidizing sprawl.

      1. All due respect, I am glad if the Gold Line is safe, but I would have to take the Red Line and transfer downtown.

        I like the Red Line just fine during the day but I have no intention of taking it at night when I have no way of knowing how many people will be on the platforms when I get there, especially coming back at night. If I were to take transit at night, it would be a bus, since at least you aren’t trapped underground with heaven knows who.

        And then, there’s the walk home. I live in Hollywood. So, transit is nice for other people at night perhaps, but I’m not biting. Theoretically, this may improve in the future. Or it might not. And there are a lot of things short of murder that I’d like to avoid!

  3. Professor, if possible, can you try to post a transcript of the evening’s proceedings? I just realized I have a prior commitment on Wednesday, but I am interested. And it’s probably better I don’t go in person, b/c I am pretty frustrated with LA planning right now and I’d probably get kicked out for making rude faces.

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