In California’s Central Valley emissions from oil refineries and agriculture make Bakersfield America’s most air-polluted city. Activists fear the Trump administration could undo small but steady improvements.
The bluffs on Panorama Road offer a wide view of the northern half of Bakersfield, which is one of the few major population centres in California’s Central Valley – perhaps the US’ leading agricultural motherlode.
It’s a rare bird’s eye vantage point of this low-slung farm city of roughly 375,000 people, nestled in a bowl created by the Sierra Nevada mountains to the east and part of the California Coast Ranges to the west. On a clear day, the state’s dominant topographical features put the landscape, and one’s place in it, in sobering perspective.
If one were to step back and take a look at the world as a whole, without international borders, the health and efficiency of this one entity would appear very poor. It’s a dismal view, but might this be a better way to approach the challenge of climate change?
This is the hypothetical view of Adil Najam, of Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. “In some ways I don’t think you can understand the city if you’re too close too it,” he says at a morning plenary session of the Urban Design After Oil symposium at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s kind of like forests.” ...
Live blog from the Re-imagining Cities: Urban Design After Oil symposium at the University of Pennsylvania.