Friday 22 September 2017

JAMES KUNSTLER AND THE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY BLUEPRINT – A REVERSE PARADIGM

My curiosity got the better of me when I attended the PPT presentation at California State Bakersfield at the Icardo Center. After having read much of this mans thoughts about our urban creations, his opinions should have been far more focused on Bakersfield.

 

Sitting amongst nodding and amused students was informative. One wonders what they captured that might be indelibly left their psyche about the urban future. Will they inherit the demise of the status quo or the predictions of change postulated by Kunstler.

 

Reading about this lecture in the Bakersfield Californian indicated to me the gravity of the situation in an immature mind. Reporting as a journalist is one thing, but not even casting an opinion as to the possible impact Kunstler’s scenario might have on future life in Bakersfield is sad indeed. In fact it provides evidence of an unwillingness to advance urban design creativity in this community.

 

Still the ideas in the mind have to be transmitted to the spoken word, then written or drawn, seen and understood and acted upon with diligence. Only then can issues be shared amongst the community at large. Once that is done and an urban concept becomes policy based upon a designed physical scenario and measured with costs. Only then will reality balance man-made products with Nature.

 

Visions for the future have many sides. The one alternative is that of dancing on the graves of the “systems” suggested by Kunstler such as energy, food, mobility, trade medicine, education and finance. Thinking of accomplishing such goals he warns that it requires more than wishing or getting something for nothing. It is implementing conceptual alternatives that will get things done differently.

 

Unfortunately Kunstler clarified that he was not a “hope dispenser”. This is pitiful because the other side of vision might be pragmatic. Rather than falling back on lessons in our historic past, Kuntsler suggested such things as the efficiency of mediaeval towns and railroads as a way of returning to the future. This “fix-up” shows his complete lack of faith in interdisciplinary urban design concepts of architects and engineers who are revolutionizing “Green Building and Urban Planning” to deliver sustainable cities.

 

Maybe Kunstler needs to read about “Slow Volcanoes” and “Floating Solar Chimneys” for future electrical energy generation. Maybe Kunstler needs to comprehend the work of nano-technology of new materials found in folding cars and evacuated tube maglev systems, for new mobility. All these technologies are not based on voodoo economics but are driven by young men beneath his generation.

 

Our feet must be firmly planted on the ground. We must not dream to live with your head in the clouds. The concepts for the future must be firmly rooted in the needs and concerns of the community. Existence cannot be isolated or fully individualized. So how does one actualize a dream?  There’s only one way according to Kuntsler — you have got to wake up! One may agree with the issues but it needs more than the negative side of the future as was displayed by his “power point” presentation.

We should all share a vision and common destiny of what this world can be and how we can uplift it, but we have to be awake and aware of the ideas then issues, and energy needs for shelters. My question for Mr. Kunstler which was not shared at the Q&A “debate” was:

Thank you for coming into our unique geography and amongst good people. We are sure you have been briefed about the living conditions in this community.

We need to clean our air, to provide clean water for food and fibre, deliver necessary construction resources, as well as, provide for energy and communications infrastructure, with waste handling to fit our natural indigenous setting.

You have been dancing on the graves of our urban demise. Would you please give us your ideas for the process of creating a vision for the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint – a new Regional Plan.

We need your “Opportunity Impact Statement” for the forgotten issue in America – that of URBAN DESIGN FIRST.

 

It is possible that Bakersfield’s sponsors – the CSUB Environmental Resource Management Program, and the Department of Public Policy, the Sierra Club, and the American Planning Association need a collective attitude change as how to continue to place pressure on all local citizens and politbureau for a well staged and responsible continuing debate on urban design.

 

There are many avenues for advancing creativity. May I recommend to all who may by chance read this weblog, visit the following site to listen as to how to achieve a continuous dialogue and intelligent discourse in order to together build a beautiful city as a community.

Larry Lessig: How creativity is being strangled by the law
Larry Lessig gets TEDsters to their feet, whooping and whistling, following this elegant presentation of “three stories and an argument.” The Net’s most adored lawyer brings together John Philip Sousa, celestial copyrights, and the “ASCAP cartel” to build a case for creative freedom. He pins down the key shortcomings of our dusty, pre-digital intellectual property laws, and reveals how bad laws beget bad code. Then, in an homage to cutting-edge artistry, he throws in some of the most hilarious remixes you’ve ever seen.  Join the lively forum discussion here. Watch this talk >>

 

James Kunstler has been a part of this Makabusi Weblogger site for many years. However  “Great is truth,” said Aldous Huxley, “but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.  By simply not mentioning certain subjects … totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciations.”

Graham Kaye-Eddie

 

Master Urban Designer       2007

 

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