Friday, March 25, 2011

Ode to Cities

Original essay posted at
citytank,  a blog/think tank concept by Dan Bertolet, this essay written by Gene Duvernoy, President of Cascade Land Conservancy.


I’m now told that cities are necessary to save the planet. Let’s get this straight. Nature doesn’t need our cities. Nature will bound across the countless fronts opened by what may be the latest great die-off. Time will move on, there’ll be a spanking new world ecology, and our heedless tenure will be so last geologic era.

Now that we’re past this bit of hubris, let’s get over our ambivalence and admit it is we who need cities. Desperately. We are busy adding 175 thousand people a day to the 6.9 billion people already here. At this mind boggling rate, cities are the best way to not become the next late, great bipedal species.
Cities inherently are an efficient way for us to live. They reduce growth pressure on our farm, forest and wild landscapes so these lands continue to do what they do best—provide the life support that we now call eco-system services. Cites can intensively aggregate capital needed for infrastructure to mitigate our untidy existence from solid waste to air pollution.
So let’s try out something new: promise. Let’s fulfill the promise of building cities people are drawn too, worthy of our children, and welcoming to all. Places of grace that have room for nature alongside and within.
Success will need strong civic institutions. The payoff will be a stronger civic life. Learning to live well in our built environment will help us all to live better together.
As Laguna Beach residents, we are thankful for all the ocean beauty and green space surrounding our city. What can we do to improve the infrastructure of our city to live better together? What can you do differently today that considers this concept?

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