How to Read This Blog


HOW TO READ THIS BLOG:

To get the most out of this blog, I recommend beginning with the earliest post and proceeding in chronological order. For the most part this blog, like a planning document, builds on data and rationale in a linear manner. You may find value in individual posts taken in isolation, but I suspect your experience will be richer if you follow the intended progression.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

WPS 1: Establishing the Vision

The next series of posts will be aimed at playing out a thought experiment and will be labeled as the World Planning Series (WPS).

Taking a global perspective, and thinking of the entire world as our "community," we will apply a standard planning process to help us understand where things may be headed, what if anything can be done to influence the course of events, evaluate the alternatives, and perhaps even guess at the direction our leaders may take us.

Keep in mind that in the grand scheme of planetary politics, I'm a very small actor.  I don't have any special insight or access to the upper echelons of federal government, and I don't presume to know what the national-level planners at the very top have concluded regarding the things I write about here.

If I were to venture a guess based on my observations of the broader planning profession, I'd estimate that their conclusions are probably fairly mixed.  About issues of natural resource extraction and availability, I imagine there is a good bit of knowledge and acceptance.  Retrospectively considering the actions of US military, government, and corporate forces over the past 25+ years as they've waged wars, toppled governments, and jockeyed for access to resources, it's clear that there has been some very calculated strategic positioning taking place.




Regarding the environmental impacts of business as usual (BAU), I'm not so sure.  On issues of Climate Change, the increasing rapidity and intensity of the onslaught of bad news might be enough to have convinced a few people.  At the local level we've perhaps moved from "denial" to "bargaining" as we desperately seek ways to save the world while not substantially changing anything we do.

For now, we'll set aside some of these concerns about  who knows what and assume a sort of third-party view of the world in order to work out this experiment.

Step One:  Establishing the Vision

In a typical planning process, "Visioning" is often the first step, usually implemented concurrently or slightly ahead of the "Inventory of Existing Conditions" - so this seems like the logical place to start. The development of a vision usually begins by casting as wide a net as possible to collect the input of the community.  The planning team tries to distill the diversity of messages into one or more sentences that describe the hopes and desires of the constituency, and this becomes the thing or things which the plan strives toward.

While the vision is intended to be aspirational, it isn't entirely detached from the reality of what is.  The reason there is often a timeline overlap between Visioning and Existing Conditions is that the planning team wants to have at least a preliminary sense of the on-the-ground conditions (including political considerations) that might affect the feasibility of the Vision.

In this hypothetical exercise, defining a Vision Statement for the entire planet, our first question to address is:  whose vision will be The Vision?  There is a huge variation in living conditions on this planet and the vision of Hillary Clinton is certainly different from the vision of a penniless Somali peasant.

Somali children rummage through garbage to look for food in Mogadishu.

One preliminary conclusion we can draw is that the vision that matters the most is the vision of those with the most power.  Political candidates, platforms, and legislation are vetted through one of the corporate parties, supported by huge amounts of money from the wealthiest people and institutions.  A tiny minority of politically connected wealthy people decide which candidates and issues are even presented for public consideration and discourse.  In shaping national policy, it's fair to say that the poorest among us have virtually no influence over the outcome while the richest have the most. On the international stage, a few powerful nations and corporations drive global trade and distribution of wealth.

So- the task at hand is to divine a Vision Statement to represent the perspective of the entrenched, the elite, the business and political interests that drive the action of industrial civilization.

In our local plans, what do we see in our vision statements?   My experience is that universally, whether the plan is for a corridor, a neighborhood, or an entire city, the vision is just to have a "better," more wealthy, more advanced version of what already is.  Here are some prime excerpts:


As you can see, lots of flowery language about dynamism, growth, vibrancy, being the best, being leaders, sense of community, and some sustainability for good measure.

The truth is, you don't really even need to visit any of these places.  I could write a dozen vision statements for communities I know nothing about, and mostly get it right.  So what is it at the heart of these statements that makes them applicable all across the country, or even the whole developed world?

I contend that the basic message is the same as our theoretical World Vision- the vision of the people and groups who wield the real power and control the direction of the future.

The Vision for our planet in the future is:  "More.  And Better."

Today we drive gas powered cars, but tomorrow we'll drive electric cars.  Today we power computers and lights and TVs with coal-fired electricity, but tomorrow we'll power even cooler versions of these devices with solar panels and wind turbines.  Today our technologies are energy intensive, environmentally destructive, and polluting, but tomorrow technology itself will find solutions to these problems and will become clean and sustainable.  Today, the road carries 30,000 vehicles per day and is congested and dangerous, but tomorrow it will carry 40,000 self-driving vehicles and will be efficient and accident free.  We will all have everything we have today and so much more in the shining city on the hill.



The reality is, this is where our leaders are leading us because this is ultimately where many of us want to go.  We want more of what we have, and we want it to be even better than it is today.  It's why the Jetsons looked, talked and acted exactly like the idealized family of the early 1960's only with mind-boggling technological awesomeness surrounding them.  Implicit in this vision is that we don't even need to change anything that we do- our lives will just get more awesome through the unstoppable power of progress.

Do you see where this might become a problem?  But there I go, passing judgement on the vision.  Not really my place.

In the next post we will begin to explore some hard data and the best sources of information about the existing conditions of our world.  This will form a foundation for projecting the future conditions on which we will attempt to impress this vision of "More.  And Better."


25 comments:

  1. "In shaping national policy, it's fair to say that the poorest among us have virtually no influence over the outcome while the richest have the most. On the international stage, a few powerful nations and corporations drive global trade and distribution of wealth."

    But there have been great visionaries (though perhaps never really able to change what was most determinative within the sphere of visions) who had no money but made a difference?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for coming Artleads.

      Sure: applied to individuals this is perhaps an over-generalization. Individuals do occasionally break free from the social caste they were born into and make their mark on history. Speaking in the macro context, however, wealth and power can be used to demarcate class groups, and the elite class group has vastly disproportionate impact on the things that matter. In a later post I include a graphic showing just how dramatic the wealth divide is on a global scale. Those at the top steer the ship.

      Delete
    2. Very glad to be here. Thanks for the site.

      "Speaking in the macro context, however, wealth and power can be used to demarcate class groups, and the elite class group has vastly disproportionate impact on the things that matter."

      It certainly is a compelling conclusion to make given how our society works. But I ask myself whether this so pervasive "reality" might not be hard wired into the average human so much as it was hard wired into civilization. 10,000 years seems like forever to us, but it's really a short time. And the degree to which civilization has erased even the basis for inquiring outside of its purview might well be under estimated.

      I suppose that, as an individual who does not believe in the invincibility of BAU, I'm not fixated on the "rules" and certainties of civilization. For me (and many others) these reflect a trance that led us to an impasse. As you describe so well, the trance requires that it not be questioned. But there are some us who, like the little boy who didn't know what was expected of him, tend to see that the Emperor is naked.

      To my way of thinking, once this civilization's "bluff" is called, it becomes very clear what to do next.

      Delete
    3. Hmmm. I think you just inspired me to add a new alternative to my "alternatives development" section in progress. What you're thinking is basically a bottom-up rejection of the trappings of civilization- a transition town kind of approach?

      I'll consider including something like that in the universe of alternatives; but just be aware I'm not so sure it will fare well in terms of feasibility when evaluated against the other alternatives.

      Delete
    4. I've thought about alternatives too. And I've been trying them out on blogs (or email listservs) for some 20 years. I'm embarrassed at some of the things I've been saying here, even recently. My main trouble is complete ignorance of money and economics (not surprising for art-trained people).

      Flash Back: Where I am now is very close to where I started out after art school and as my interest veered from art (to a degree) toward a conscious activism around the built and natural landscapes. I was the only person doing what I was doing, where I was doing it, 50 years ago. But my vision formed long before that. Everything about my life--from the circumstances of my birth, to my rural heritage, to my schools, on and on--were fortuitous in forming my present position. Prescient people on blogs (indirectly) state or imply (I think) that I'm one of those people who just "knows." I take no particular pride in this. It is simply what it is. Atheism is not a possibility for me.

      But there remained huge blind spots, and it's to try and overcome some of these these that took me to OFW.

      Long story short. On OFW (most recently, by osmosis, and seemingly in a solid way) I've picked up enough to confirm mt deepest and oldest instincts. It all comes down to energy. No matter how you slice it, there are very limited options as to alternatives if fossil fuel (ff) energy goes away. You can't conduct centralized, globalized networked mega societies that way. That should be clear. There are no alternatives for that. In fact, these societies are disintegrating now, even before the absolute disappearance of ff's. FFs are entwined with everything else in industrial civilization (IC), which makes the issue so complex that you might as well use intuition (as I do) as engage in a probably vain attempt to studiously think it through. Think of how far Trump has gone on intuition alone. I posit that this could only happen now, when all the old sense of progress and order has evaporated. There simply is no precedence for how to lead at the end of IC. But I will go to the mat to defend my profoundly intuitive and "imprinted" vision that has done remarkable things, even as I regress and doubt that I could be right and the entire world wrong.

      Anyway, it's getting late. I should try to say more anon.

      Delete
    5. "What you're thinking is basically a bottom-up rejection of the trappings of civilization- a transition town kind of approach?"

      I hadn't heard of transition towns, and am gratified to see such a movement. The goals are similar to mine in some regards, although I'm not clear what they are transitioning TO. I don't envision transitioning to anything other than to move away from major dependence on any form of organization beyond (as near as feasible) the "traditional" band size of around 150 people.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transition_town
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkni7e1sSXI
      https://www.amazon.com/150-Strong-Pathway-Different-Rob-OGrady-ebook/dp/B01BCU692Y

      As with much else, long time gleanings get internalized, even as new information becomes available in a sharper form. So I've been thinking about 150-strong type groupings on my own before becoming aware of Orlov.
      ---------
      An earlier post of mine On OFW

      "Money and debt are the essence of ugliness. So is global homogeneity. So is anything too big. Our best hope is for this gargantuan economy to crash. But there has to be an alternative, which now is nonexistent. The notion of 150 strong should not be overlooked. By hook or by crook, each pod of 150 strong (or something roughly equivalent) should be more self-sufficient than not, and there should be trade between pods. (And pods wouldn’t necessarily have to be geographically separate from each other, although it’s a no brainer to start work with those separate pods–like villages– where they already exist."

      ---------

      Delete
    6. RADICAL REUSE

      A cornerstone of my thinking is RADICAL REUSE of what now exists.

      Just as we got excited over new things, I assume we can learn the same level of enthusiasm for the old. From what I understand, that will involve the reprogramming of neurotransmitters.

      One of the major practical advantages of reuse is that it uses the embodied energy that went into original manufacture. Just as IC used stored oil from eons past, we evolve to reuse what IC made...an already manufactured, embedded energy source. This implies extreme reduction in energy use. Furthermore, I propose using the contents of landfills as a major source of "production" materials.

      RADICAL PRESERVATION

      Broadly speaking, I propose that we destroy nothing, and store, archive and reuse everything--from bottle caps and cigarette butts on up. Most certainly, we must preserve existing buildings, even using methods of "arrested decay," shell preservation and exoskeleton refurbishment inside.

      The same radical preservation I propose for he built environment, I also propose for areas I've spent less time with. Preservation: Culturally, Ecologically
      Energetically (embedded energy), Memory, Technology, etc.

      FUTURE THINKING

      Since reuse of civilization's artifacts and detritus can't go on forever, there has to be planning for when we again have to rely on wood to power our needs (or just to cook our food and keep warm)

      - Planted trees that will eventually be the only source for building materials and energy.

      - We regularly undervalue what is here (cities, roads, etc.)

      - Need for structured management. The loss of fossil fuels, with no proactive structuring of society, could entail the loss of everything, even beyond the Dark Ages. I believe this can be avoided.

      - Maintaining industrial capacity--knives, cardboard, medicine. We need simple things to continue being made (if at all possible). Radically structured management, with fairly minimal use of energy, with radical reuse of closed factories and manufacturing equipment, etc,.., might be able to keep up a supply of hygienic materials, cardboard (the building material of the future), knives, saws, and other basics to keep our "conveniences" as close as possible to the status quo. Of course, I'm not talking about consumerism of any sort; just the most basic of basic supplies.

      COMMUNITARIAN TRANSITION

      We can no longer afford the insulated, isolated individual. Everyone must help the community. Not necessarily by edict or coercion, and maybe mostly through moral suasion.

      BOTTOM UP GLOBALISM

      Bottom up globalism might need to be a corollary of small 150-strong pods networking on a global scale. While I don't expect that any level of government beyond the average county size will remain viable, I at least am very hopeful that we can hang on to county government. (I live in the county, and have been following county affairs. I've thought less about cities recently, but, essentially, block organization--block farms especially--seem promising. Urban planner (?) Richard Britz self published a book on the subject in 1971: "The Edible City." (Britz was very encouraging of the writing and thinking I had started in the early 1980s.

      OTHER NEEDS

      A "class" that will manage nuclear waste in perpetuity.

      Education? Waht sort? For whom?
      Access to information
      "National" and Global Cohesion

      TO BE RESOLVED

      Can some semblance of the nation state remain, despite having no coercive power? Can the gigantic US military be kept up as a global force for good? And many other matters that I'm failing to consider or have temporarily forgotten...



      Delete
    7. This is remarkably pertinent to what I wrote above (before listening to the video). Dmitry Orlov:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5okbVVXJ8pA

      Delete
    8. What great thoughts Artleads, thanks for sharing. I think you'll find the Local Planning Series much more satisfying to your interests- where we'll explore what should/can be done at a local level. Unfortunately that is a pretty reactive approach, but I do see events being driven from the top down for the time being.

      Hopefully the power stays on long enough to get to writing that part. (That's a doomer joke...)

      Delete
    9. Froggman,

      I'm sure I forgot some things that will come to me by and by. But this is one that struck me, which needs emphasis (since it's entirely paradoxical and counter intuitive):


      I'm envisioning the greatest change in human history as coexistent with the most radical continuity in human history. I'm saying that to save ourselves, making an unimaginable evolutionary leap, we must keep the built and natural landscapes just the way they are (I simplify, of course.)

      Our problem is not so much that we must create something new (for which there isn't energy anyhow); it is that we are being inundated with meaningless change all the time. We discard everything in order to "keep up with the times," despite the times being fatal to us. We have collective amnesia. I suspect that a universal movement toward permanence and stability would heal the troubled soul of the world.

      -----------

      Another point, related to the first, is what I call adaptive (and indeed transitional) industries. Those that I'm aware of tend to use more creatively what is here already and to minimize environmental footprint. I saw on Charlie Rose entrepreneurs buying up buildings and turning them into whole communities where people could live and work and network. Another had people take vacations in tiny houses in the woods, having left behind their digital toys. Unfortunately, I'm bad at listing and remembering names. There's a lot more in similar vein... These will however fall short when there is no more money or oil. Oh, and another interesting one was a movement to build gardens on rooftops. I was amazed at one business that grew in lit translucent shelves. Many, many layers of shelves. I would never have thought so much could be produced in such limited spaces.

      Delete
    10. You might have to write a guest post for me as a post script to the conclusion of the World Planning Series. While the WPS will lay out the direction I think we're most likely to head, perhaps you can offer a counter example of what "should" be done, in the interest of humanity and the myriad living things.

      Delete
    11. Hi Froggman,

      I'll be honored to contribute. If you need this, please tell me as simply as you can what is required. Editing and forcing me to explain things better might also be helpful.

      Delete
    12. From OFW:

      Artleads says:
      July 26, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      There are different kinds of jobs. Farm workers, for instance, live where they work, and get around by company transport.

      How people get to work is an issue. Given the prevailing lack of planning, new jobs are often distant from residences. People must buy cars to get from home to work. While that accelerates CO2 pollution (with monumental economic impacts!), we can say that car sales are good for the economy. I question that, however.

      Due to developer greed and weak planning allowing sprawl, car and truck traffic through my village have skyrocketed in the last 15 years. The infrastructure has started to fray. The numerous semi trucks vibrate and break up the sub-road water pipes which the cash-strapped local water coop must replace.

      Quality of life (and therefore property values) also suffers. Traffic is almost impossible to moderate, and speeding vehicles hit pets and threaten people backing out onto the main road. Jobs leading to the kind of consumerism that is exacerbated by prevailing land use have a cost. Jobs that are correlated to conservative (conservationist) planning, instead, could be another matter.

      Delete
  2. @ DJ

    As I said earlier, I use the term "service economy" ONLY toward discovering a proper term for something that is very light on ff dependency. Something not dependent on mining new materials, and CERTAINLY is not part of a globalized growth economy. (I acknowledge that Gail T is exclusively concerned with the latter.)

    I'm thinking more in terms of "repurposing," (art jargon), reusing, re-evaluating all artifacts--buildings, roads, sidewalks, bottles, cans, plastic, wood, cars, RVs, factories, etc.--in ways that require EDUCATION and system, but virtually NO FFs. In other words, a (preferably rapid) shift in values and culture rather than technique (for which there is no FF source of energy, and which, moreover, is environmentally suicidal).

    I'm proposing that the embedded energy in existing artifacts is unimaginably large, which might explain why society can't get its collective mind around it. But what needs to GROW is our intellectual and imaginational ability to understand and deploy this vast source of energy. It is not about making more stuff. It is not about a centralized economic order.

    People tend to dismiss notions of the future as fairies floating on air, and I dismiss such notions too. I go to the exact opposite end of the spectrum. The future depends on the hyper preservation of what is here now. Until we learn to love the rusty doorknob or the wire on the trail we are unquestionably bound for extinction. There is no FF energy to make new things. I'm not proposing a shiny, brave new world, but rather at tattered, stained, patina-ed old world that is RE-SEEN.

    But I also admit that to even last a day, we also need some version of BAU to work. We need glue, tape, utility knives, medicine. But we don't need it as part of a globalized profit system, and we don't need money. So other rewards must be given so as to procure the BAU chain of minimal supply. And we need to figure out where that supply must be distributed and how to make it sustainable as it adapts to unforeseeable changes over time. Much of this exceeds what we in the here and now are responsible for. We be doing well enough to stop tearing down things and putting them in landfills...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Artleads says:
    July 31, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    My closest model is the third world shanty town, even though I’m no expert on them. Basic assumptions include their dependence on city dumps for materials, lack of money, scarce energy beside what is pirated from main lines.

    In one shanty town that I visited, a trained architect was working with a small group of dwellers, using the same materials and energy sources they used, but with an enormous superiority in design and system. I therefore see the shanty town as the post-collapse means for shelter. These places operate outside of the market economy and don’t pay much (if any) taxes. But they could be done better, with more thought given to humanure composting, basic sanitation, food production, etc, all of which can be built-in to the design. Supporting such places is not what central governments do, but that is at their own peril.

    Wise central governments (an oxymoron, no doubt) could do well with employing a minescule fraction of what they provide in services for overbuilt, over-consuming communities on providing the merest educational program to the public so as to ensure largely self-sufficient shanty town living for those who want it. Such communities would be therefore off the government payroll.

    But I agree; it’s hard to get the government formula right.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Having just posted about shanty towns, I want to admit to confusion about the subject. I work by "vision." If I can "visualize" something clearly, I know from experience that I'm likely to be on to something. But what I'm seeing re shanty towns is far from clear.

    I like and believe in shanty towns, but can't quite see how they grow or don't grow in the future. There's a collapse continuum that I hardly understand. A great deal of money is still being thrown around. What if a small fraction of that money were thrown at shanty towns? I find it painful to recognize that new, vast, "unaffordable" building developments go up everyday. Gail talks about the big-picture economic system that operates behind such developments, but I suspect that such grand schemes are at once environmentally and economically suicidal.

    So back to shantytowns.



    (I posted a link to shanty towns that's very simple and easy to read. If it doesn't post here, it--a BBC "Bitesize" article on shanty towns--might come up on top in a Google search as it did for me.

    I guess a lot, and I'm guessing that shanty towns are the new global norm for affordable habitat, but only not recognized as such by the dominant culture. (I would guess that shanty towns are relatively affordable in terms of money, energy and environmental wealth. They are not awash in power tools, cars, clean water, or high-end amenities. While out of sight, out of mind for the dominant culture, they provide a means to live for millions of poor people. These poor people might increasingly include members of the dominant culture as collapse endues. Shanty towns might be the key to a version of a "soft landing."

    But I'm not sure whether I'm talking about recognized shanty towns that occupy specific sites, or whether I'm looking at how the essential "affordability" of shanty towns, and their applicability to the poor might be transferable to the mainstream built environment. What if the shanty town "methodology" (if not the actual visual conglomeration known as shanty towns) were to be integrated into the general built environment?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well we already have about 1/7 of the population of the world living in slums- so this is a fairly prevalent form of development. When people have nothing else its what they fall back on. Here's an interesting map I found of the percent of people living in slums by country: http://www.targetmap.com/viewer.aspx?reportId=15913

      I imagine you're right in that larger portions of the world population will be living in makeshift / shanty communities as economic conditions continue to deteriorate. But I doubt there will be a deliberate, coordinated effort on the global scale to encourage that transition- it may just happen as the fallout of collapse, unique in each local and regional set of circumstances.

      Perhaps we'll learn more when they showcase the favelas of Rio during the network coverage of the Olympics... LOL!

      Delete
    2. FASCINATING MAP! Looks like 90% of sub Sahara Africa live in "slums." And I understand that this demographic is growing perhaps faster than any other in the world. That suggest to me a need for system and planning on a continental scale. Or let's say that, for one with my views, it offers a golden opportunity for the planner.

      I'm just a voice in the wilderness, committed to planning while without planning credentials of any sort. But Africa looks like the place for "soft<" organic, decentralized "planning." Which is to say, you can plan to not plan. You can plan to take advantage of the cultural trends, the socioeconomic forces that operate by themselves. For me, the planning "empty spaces" (shanty towns) are just as important as those that are filled in. :-)

      Good point about about Rio favelas!

      Delete
    3. And the opening ceremony did not disappoint. To my mind, the stage set was based on the look of the stereotypical favela. The movement is on!

      Delete
  5. @ DJ,

    "Artleads,
    Can’t you see the need of moving food, clean water and waste over long distances in all large cities?"

    Not entirely. But it's hard to predict what could be required in such unfamiliar circumstances. I believe you are thinking that the collapse future will run on the same regs as the past. OUR past is first world, rich, eurocentric industrial. The future that *I* envisage is third world and make shift (a little of this, a little of that, poor, whatever works, whatever is "affordable"). There would perhaps be a central group trying to help the various groups within a region. But such a group would be running on fumes. There would be no mechanism for providing garbage pickup or more than basic-survival water supply. Communities would be organized in small pods. The pods (150 more or less) would be informal, carved out of whatever the current lay of the land might be.

    What those pods do to support themselves is based on what I have done myself, or am currently proposing to have done more broadly. Chief among my requirements is rainwater catchment. I have a decent amount of catchment, but absolutely depend on the town well too. We will need both in my town. Where a well is not feasible in a city, water would have to be transported in. So different places have different needs, even within cities as a whole. We handle such diversity through planning.

    I suppose you and Gail are thinking that, rather than transport water to urban places that lack it, better would be moving people, en masse, closer to where water is available. Which would necessitate abandonment of existing shelter and creation of new shelter. Very expensive, I should think. It would seem cheaper to reconfigure the urban setting in question to collect more rainwater. Bearing in mind that many urban places can support deep wells. You can't get your head around all this complexity unless you have a good mapping program that tells you where resource gaps and needs are located. We don't have planning now. What passes as planning is abject failure to understand scarcity, economic downturn, or environmental catastrophe. Of all professions in society, the planning profession is the most severely disappointing.

    "If we are to move billions of people to “large rivers” (drink upstreams, piss downstreams?), why move them to shanty towns and not villages?"

    This is not what I was suggesting. I was merely stating what I think is happening now, due largely to the conceptual failures of BAU. I favor people staying where they are--villages, towns, cities, megacities, etc. You can carve out small pods even in mega apartments with thousands of residents. You can always subdivide, and by subdivide. I am more speaking of behavioral and conceptual subdivisions than physical ones.

    "Regarding building standards, those are all the time rising in Sweden, possibly(?) in the whole developed world. Adapted for people with movement disabilities, mandatory connection to municipal water, waste, electricity. Correct height of kitchen sink, energy efficient, approved heating etc."

    I don't want to speak in absolutes. I find that almost anything, however misguided, has a good side. But, by and large, modern, first world building standards are going in exactly the wrong direction for a world about to run out of oil. Here again, planning has failed us. We need to foster kindness, compassion, creativity within the large society, and let people figure out the details for themselves. We need a shanty town world with the right kind of cheap central intervention to create a decent world.

    Part of our problem is thinking in "one-size-fits-all" terms. If we find one thing that works (sort of) we than discount the million other ways that work or could work too. This is a product of globalistic, centralizing thinking. Most people on blogs are too young to have experiences a more flexible and diversified world. That is a misfortune.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For some reason this comment was marked as spam, and I'm just now getting around to pulling it out. Sorry about that.

      "Of all professions in society, the planning profession is the most severely disappointing."

      As a planner I can't disagree. Although, as in all professions, there are those who would defy convention and do things "right", but we are so vastly overwhelmed by the pressure of society to confirm to the standard that we scarcely make a dent. The few of us who understand know that we need to completely transform our civilization, but we are so beat down we look at squeezing a bike lane in here and there as if it were a major victory!

      Delete
  6. I barely glanced at this article about Rio. Thought it might have some relevance to favelas, but not sure.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/rio-luxury-sponsors-delegations-contrast-difficulties-brancatelli?trk=eml-b2_content_ecosystem_digest-hero-14-null&midToken=AQH_zHpzty1eIw&fromEmail=fromEmail&ut=2QDhRiiwkf2no1

    ReplyDelete
  7. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/25/the-broken-chessboard-brzezinski-gives-up-on-empire/

    Artleads says:
    August 26, 2016 at 9:37 pm
    Military might and realpolitik aren’t always the best policy. The reset that Brzez envisages seems to require far more soft power and diplomacy than at any time. A very quick calibration to soft power and diplomacy might take traditional adversaries off guard. Speed is good. There’s still plenty of room to maneuver–working with religious organizations or non profits on the ground, etc.

    It costs little, and probably is most practical to gear American grants to planning departments (which can be paid not to get in the way, at least) as well as other organizations that can promote small-group community planning. Each group tries to acquire a measure of self-sufficiency through small upgrading of water conservation and food production–like roof water catchment and soil building workshops, etc.. Small, coherent, universally distributed expenditures. Since they are the most concerned with the nurture of their families, women might be most receptive to such a plan.

    But military might would be quietly reserved in the background. Walk softly but carry a big stick.

    ReplyDelete
  8. “The greenest building is the one that’s already built. It takes energy to construct a new building—it saves energy to preserve an old one. It simply does not make sense to recycle cans and newspapers and not recycle buildings.”

    http://forum.savingplaces.org/blogs/forum-online/2016/09/07/ten-principles-for-reurbanism-reuse-and-reinvestment-in-the-21st-century?_ga=1.61114345.492749351.1473746147

    ReplyDelete
  9. http://www.planetizen.com/node/89544/jane-jacobss-legacy-2016-edition

    Artleads • 11 hours ago
    As suggested, she'd probably lean toward writing on the suburbs...the inner ring ones at least. But I believe she'd be wise enough to see that planning as a profession is dead. The thing that professional planning must accommodate is infinite growth, but she'd of course know that you can't have infinite growth on a finite planet. And the fact that human population has almost tripled since her time--the impossible growth matrix we're in--would perhaps not escape her.

    ----------------

    Some thoughts about voting. They're in the category of In My Humble Opinion (IMHO).
    1) We should vote for what we want, not what we fear. Positive, aspirational energy is better than negative, fearful energy.

    2) We should be clear as to what to prioritize. For me, it is how to avoid extinction, not only of the "biosphere," where 200 species go extinct EACH DAY--a thousand fold faster than the "natural" rate of extinction. To think the rest of nature will go extinct but technology will save humans is delusional.

    3) The rational alternative to Donald Trump is not necessarily Hillary Clinton. If what is needed is to turn the system on its head and examine it with fresh eyes, an agent of stability and continuity like Hillary is not necessarily an improvement over one of alarming disruption like Trump.

    4) It is customary in a specializing civilization to look at fragments of the picture rather than the whole. If I look at the whole picture (as best I can), it strikes me that the critical issue for our monstrous global predicament is not race but gender. If half the world's population is subjugated (and used to bolster artificial categories such as "white people,") we are clearly not ever going to address race, climate, or any other conflict, with a winning strategy.

    ReplyDelete