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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Adapting Our Cities to Reality

We have been in a position of weakness surrounded by the power of tooth and claw for thousands of years, and have had to dominate without conscience to survive. Success has given us time to pursue non-lethal competition. It mimics our survival efforts with incomplete rules that substitute for conscience. Competition without conscience is war by another name. It can make the concept of democracy a casualty.
A superior predator that does not respect its species will not survive the carnage - until it recognizes the symbiotic policy of the planet. It is an axiom we have ignored within the perimeters of partial safety we have created. This safety has encouraged us to compete with the planet for land as our need for shelter grows with success. Growth is considered success, and it has expanded the urban pattern into amorphous, pathogenic sprawl surrounded by contaminated water. The two are contained within a plastic bag of atmosphere that accumulates the heat and pollution generated by growth and success. The combination threatens the gift we have been given. How much more will it take for the ultimate predator to recognize that the planet cannot be dominated?
It is we who must adapt, and the contributions of many are required. I have written The Science of City Design to address the issue of shelter. It provides a language capable of measuring, evaluating, and expressing land use decisions in mathematical terms of shelter capacity, intensity, intrusion, and dominance. You will learn that these terms and their definitions can lead site planning and shelter quantity decisions to form an improved quality of life over time. The goal is to shelter the activities of growing populations within a limited Built Domain that protects their quality and source of life - The Natural Domain. It is one of many precise languages written to convert opinion to knowledge. Its use will require adaptation that is a challenge to dominating, predatory power promoted by competitive instinct. As always, our competing instincts are the issue. Future decisions will reveal if we recognize the policy of a planet that demands symbiotic behavior from a predator that must adapt to its stewardship responsibility.

Photo courtesy of NASA

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