Sunday, September 30, 2007

9-30-07 Chapter 8

I read chapter 8 “Plunge on in!” because I was curious to know how one can “plunge in” and begin to make major changes to a concrete city. R. Register graphically describes the world’s economy with a layered cake comparison. The bottom layer of the cake, the layer that supports everything else, is the natural economy or the natural “free” resources. I like the image of the layered caked because it expresses the importance of the natural economy and shows that every other economy depends upon the health of the natural resources. “No ecology No economy,” our livelihoods are based on the natural resources that support us.
This chapter outlined four sequential steps to start the progress toward an ecocity. The steps help focus and direct energy in a positive direction. Step one is the need for a comprehensive map. The importance of a map/plan is a recurring theme in all the literature we have read so far. The map would need to contain the framework for the city’s zoning, physical anatomy, future development and non development sites ect. Also, the plan should only serve as a guideline for the city and expect considerable changes. The question that continually arises for me when the idea of a comprehensive map is brought up is how can a small struggling city with limited resources fund the creation of this type of map , like my hometown.
The second step is the compilation of a list of technologies. This data base would serve the community by providing education and information for its future growth. Step Three is incentives for the growth of ecocities. This would be new package of incentives that builds “a society at peace with nature.” The laws, regulations and subsides would have to change from cars/sprawl and oil to a set of regulations that promotes ecocities. The last step is people. It is important to organize people with a common goal, who are “ready and willing” to pick up their lives and make change happen. The next part of the chapter gives the real life example of ITHACA, NY and how the city is using the four steps to accomplish its goals.
The last part of the chapter gives the typical recommendations of how we can support the green cause by, buying locally, getting rid of our cars, boycotting Wal-Mart, and supporting Third Parties in government. The main gist of this chapter was to start planning and more importantly begin to take action. The perfect conditions for change don’t exist so the only way to start change is to just jump in and then adjust as you go.
Field Experience
I tried to picture the light rail running through the Downtown Commons. One of my major concerns is the way the light rail would look and how it would fit in with the aesthetic appeal the Commons now have. Is there a way to change the way the rail or train cars would look in order to make them fit in with the charm of the commons? Or maybe a mixture of light rails and trolley cars. Also I’m not familiar with light rails but I assume they make some kind of noise, which could be a major annoyance. It is estimated that around 20% percent of the population has some type of handicap; I assume the trains would be accessible, but how? I really like the idea of slowly shutting down streets to cars. When you slowly shut down a street to cars it gives people the chance to get used to the change and find other ways to get around.

No comments: