National Geographic : 1976 Mar
How should we use aggregate bearing lands? For houses or grav el? Parks? Farming? There's no pat answer. Optimum land use is a complex subject. People often have valid but differing opinions about what "optimum use" means. Most people would rather see new homes across the street than a gravel pit. America needs more housing despite the building slump. Demand exceeds supply by hundreds of thousands of units. In 25 years, we'll need nearly 50 million additional dwellings. But if we're to meet future build ing goals, we'll need sand and gravel. Lots of it. For fill, subbase. For concrete. Over 100 tons of concrete can go into an average bungalow with garage and drive. We also need sand and gravel for schools, hospitals, factories, roads and bridges. And we need land to put those new structures on, and for farms, parks and forests. Which should have priority-land for buildings or land for building materials? The answer may be both. Respon sible planners see land use as a flexible thing, tuned to the needs of the day. Whatever its initial use, if deposits warrant and environ mental impact permits, the land could be used for sand and gravel. After that, perhaps, for sanitary landfill or a park or housing de velopment. Each sequential use should contribute to community needs, blending smoothly into the next, making best use of the land now while preparing for what's to come. Sequential use should be a part of today's land planning. Caterpillar builds machines used in agriculture, mining and con struction. Those machines pro duce sand and gravel, develop home sites and reclaim land. We realize responsible land use is im portant to the quality of life. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. Caterpillar,Cat and E areTrademarksofCaterpillarTractorCo.