Friday, September 02, 2005


What sort of people are we?!

Let's be honest, Americans are a curious bunch. Our culture leads one to believe that we are on top of the world, but we are not. We think we have it made because of cheap oil, but we really don't. We love plastic bottles full of water, and think its "environmental and safe," but it is mostly environmentally destructive. Well, with Hurricane Katrina and its accompanying destruction, I hope that my fellow Americans realize that these sentiments are not only bunk, but that the U.S. of A is not as secure as most people think. In fact, I think that our country is about to enter some of the most serious geo-political situations in history. Why, you ask?

Well, mostly because the economic success of our entire country depends on a few certain regions that produce cheap labor and cheap gasoline. These regions are full of people who do not like us, and probably for good reason. I do not have to reassert Jim Kunstler's Long Emergency thesis, but it does seem as though everything he predicted is tragically coming to fruition. Drastic hurricane destruction, rapid hikes in gasoline prices, and speculative markets that provide energy to our suburbs is more than the reality, it is simply the future of America. Moreover, it is the future of most of urban America to wallow in the decrepit state that is the lack of planning in the "good old US of A." Because so many of our cities are based on the success of the automobile, we will be perpetually asking ourselves whether it was a good idea to put billions of dollars into the interstate highway system, and I'm sure the overwhelming majority of people will figure out that this has been a 100 year experiment that has failed.

Could we not see how urban America should grow in the future? Could we have not seen how important it is to look at regions as a whole? Where will the search for profit end, and the desire for the public good begin?! Do people realize that you can both make a profit and make marked improvements to our society? I don't have definite answers to all these questions, but I only hope that our fellow humans will take up the cause of planning for the expansion of human activity and interaction. Afterall, if we do not plan for life in public spaces, we are unfortunately planning for the ineffectual lack of social mobility, as urban space andpublic life are more than linked. If you are not connected to these issues, its time to wake up, and make certain that the planning for people space takes precedent over planning for individual interest, as we will all be the richer, and the wiser for it. Okay, that's my tangent for the day, but to get back to the issue at hand here....

Katrina has destroyed one of America's most historic cities, but most people are not thinking about the possibility of letting well enough alone. Man foolishly thinks we can once again conquer nature. We don't realize that we are OF nature, not above it. I would like to see New Orleans come back and thrive more than ever, but to be honest I think that sometimes you have to cut your losses and realize that those who believe that perpetually planning a city in that location were a few beers short of a six pack. As a result we are already beginning to see the effects of the Long Emergency, and its not pretty.

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