Saw a job posting this morning for a professor of urban hydrology, someone to profess about what’s going to happen when the hard rain starts to fall, and believe me, a hard rain’s a gonna fall, but while it initially inspired a bit of a rant about how over the top ridiculous the expectations for the poor bastard who actually “wins” the competition for that job, and make no mistake, there will be plenty of folks competing for it, now it kind of makes me laugh.
Right out loud.
Why, one might ask? It’s because I got to thinking about Nancy Grimm pounding on that table all those years ago, back when we first started talking about Urban Ecosystems in the United States, Nancy pounding away saying “Paved Roads Are Bad!”.
At the time, I thought, what a douche, you obviously got here on one in your SUV. These days, I kind of think, yeah, you were right, and even if you were thinking mostly about Nitrogen in stream systems, that was all about hydrology, too, and so for the folks in Portland who are going to be reviewing those hundred or so applications, they’ll put quite a few aside without even really looking at them, but I can save them, and us, the US taxpayers, a whole lot of time and money.
I mean, after all, millions and millions of dollars, many years, and rather woefully ignored environmental meltdown riddled years after Nancy pounded on that table, those folks who got all that money to study Urban Ecosystems, and Nancy was right at the top of the list, are still talking about Ecosystem Services and trying hard to keep the funding coming in.
So, here’s the answer.
Paved roads aren’t bad, but we have far too many of them. Big cities with high population density? Same thing. A few here and there, where the landscape can support them, fine. That sure doesn’t include Phoenix or LA or Las Vegas. I don’t know Mexico City well enough to evaluate it.
Funny, it's all about water.
I get Urban Hydrology pretty well. It’s not a pretty picture.