If you look at a city like Los Angeles, and its extreme dependence on regional infrastructure, the question of whether certain cities become monstrously over-sized has less to do with the number of people living there, than with how they consume, whether they reuse and recycle resources, whether they share public space. So I wouldn’t say that a city like Khartoum is an impossible city; that has much more to do with the nature of private consumption.
People talk about environmental footprints, but the environmental footprints of different groups who make up a population tend to differ dramatically. In California, for instance, within the right-wing of the Sierra Club, and amongst anti-immigrant groups, there’s this belief that a huge tide of immigration from Mexico is destroying the environment, and that all these immigrants are actually responsible for the congestion and the pollution – but that's absurd. Nobody has a smaller environmental footprint, or tends to use public space more intensely, than Latin American immigrants. The real problem is white guys in golf carts out on the hundred and ten golf courses in the Coachella Valley. In other words, one retired white guy my age may be using up a resource base ten, twenty, thirty times the size of a young chicana trying to raise her family in a small apartment in the city.i'm reminded of an anti-immigrant professor at sdsu who apparently takes his classes down to the canyons in san diego where migrant workers live to show them the "environmental degradation" they cause. which exhibits, as davis points out, a profound ignorance of where "environmental" impacts actually originate.
this all ties back to jenny price's piece thirteen ways of seeing nature in LA that discusses how cities like boulder, co are able to exist (propped up by material flows from industrial areas like los angeles). these writers are truly great for trying to actually get to the root causes of modern problems.