Sustainability can be differentiated from the town vision statements and comprehensive plans. A sustainable community might be one that is over-developed. The concept there is called "carrying capacity." The easiest example is to compare when the island has exceeded its carrying capacity, such as during:
- Texas Week, Spring Break
- Memorial Day
- Fourth of July
This is an interesting case because during the off season, SPI can be considered a rural area having a density of less than 5,000 people per square mile, but can have a density of 25,000 per square mile on those peak weekends and holidays. One has to design the city for the peak activity, however. Once a threshold has been exceeded, the "island experience" becomes a negative due to crowding, congestion, and conflicts that create accidents and incidents. This "out of control" situation indicates that the study area is clearly not sustainable.
Yet at the same time, there is an acceptance that more and more houses and condos will be built on the island, which would increase loads even more. Some experts like to call this "managed growth" so as to minimize the negative impacts we already are seeing. Others call it bad names. I'll take on the proposed second causeway and North End development next.