Saturday, February 27, 2021
Feb. 27, 2021

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Letter: Build community resilience

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With electric vehicles soon to be self-driving, able to transport us from our door to our destination, we’ll need fewer garages. Instead of storing cars, garages can be converted into housing for people. This energy-efficient, affordable approach to creating new housing uses existing infrastructure and avoids the carbon cost of heavy equipment and new roads. It moderately increases density while retaining the essential charm of our neighborhoods. Density can support more local economic activity and transportation efficiencies.

Imagine trading in the expense of car ownership for rental income and reduced housing costs. While remodeling the garage, other improvements can be made including weatherization, solar installation, replacing lawns with edible landscaping, planting or pruning trees to improve solar gain during winter and summer shade.

This will create community resilience with more housing, locally produced food, meaningful work, and healthier, more connected lives — all while reducing our reliance on fossil fuel. Climate activists, homeowners, housing groups, neighborhood organizations, city planners, building contractors, lenders, transportation experts, taxi drivers, solar installers, gardeners, arborists and others will all be needed to make this happen.

Climate change and new transportation options are upon us. Let’s work together to create a future we want for our community and planet.

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