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    Sep 20 2013: Again, all these new and innovative solutions to the problems of the great cities of the world addressing social changes in education and transportation, housing, et el. in my view fail to address the root problems... in every instance in history when large groups of people are gathered together (aka cities or urban centers) the worse of humanity has come out of them... World cities today give raise to the greatest poverty and human misery as well as the greatest wealth and the greatest criminality. Paraphrasing Willie Sutton "it's where the money is"
    So, my first question would be... with billions of peoples living in urban areas, how do we even begin to do all these things to improve their lives with out changing the very nature of man... greed, lust, envy to name a few....
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      Sep 21 2013: Mike, Mike, Mike...listen to yourself. You are condemning a species of which you are a member. Do you think that large gatherings bring out the worst in you? Let's consider an alternative.

      The vast majority of people in urban agglomerations, and other gatherings, sincerely want to make it work. Let's say 99% of them. But the mere fact of density is that we increase the concentration of those who don't. Urban density increases the probability that we will encounter people who respond to crowds with aggression, paranoia, and those that are just having a bad day. This probability might increase 100-fold relative to rural areas. And, because we tend to focus attention on negative encounters and ignore the positive or neutral ones, we miss the fact that almost all of our encounters are good. So even if 99% of people are trying to make it work, if we generalize from our negative experiences we might draw erroneous conclusions about humanity. I would like to believe that you are one of the 99% trying to make it work.

      Density also increases the concentration of ingenuity, brilliance, and innovation. Thus, cities are the crucible of modern government, not to mention the source of solutions to problems like cholera. The concentration of people and resources unleashes unprecedented creative forces--including evolutionary adaptation. There is no doubt that urbanization is driving human evolution--consider the fact that the mating and reproductive behavior of human urban and rural dwellers differs more than behaviors across race, religion, or ethnicity. So, I would submit that urbanization is changing the nature of man--to the benefit of both the species and the planet--for example, lower urban fertility rates are now defusing the "population bomb."

      So, I prefer to celebrate the better humanity that urbanization brings forth.
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        Sep 21 2013: George, I know I sound like a downer.... but, when I look at the history of mankind... for every Mother Teresa there are a too large a number of Gangis Khans, Hitlers, etc. Further, it can to well be shown that concentrating too large a number of humans in a small area seems to bring out the worse.
        On one hand, I would be all for a kinder, gentler humans living and prospering in great urban areas... I just don't know where you are going to find them...
        That is the reason, I stated that population size of urban areas be limited and spaces in between... Maybe if kept in small groups that are manageable and get past the YY chromosome and, and, and... you may have a better chance to gain the utopia you suggest is plausible...
        But, I will bet on the inhumanity of man...
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          Sep 21 2013: Mike,
          If you bet on the inhumanity of man, that belief will probably color all possibilities for you.

          You are right, that "concentrating too large a number of humans in a small area seems to bring out the worse".....in the past.

          You also say you like to look at history, so how about considering the way in which large numbers of people were concentrated in small areas. Was it always by their choice? Were the conditions in those small areas pleasant and sustainable for those people?

          I suggest that if people are content with their living conditions, it might change the dynamic? We have the opportunity to encourage and create that situation.

          It's ok Mike, if you want to stick with your idea......why?
        • Sep 22 2013: It looks to me like we have a discussion forming between Optimists v. Pessimists.

          The 'beaten up' members of our readership group are completely justified to be skeptical. How about we were to form a "Peace Garden Healing Center" in these future cities whereby people can go to heal and prosper. Modeling and Mentoring, by the way, need to definitely be mentioned in this social utopia we are hoping to create.
          We must remember that caring for one's family and strengthening the family are fundamental desires and needs of all folks. When half our country's homes went 'underwater' caused by mostly others; that will take a long time for people to trust their community well enough to contribute their time/talent once again.
          One last power idea: building a small senior residence facility whereby families can gather and enjoy socializing has been TREMENDOUSLY SUCCESSFUL. These simple ideas need leadership, capital, community involvement and committment. Our local "Nova - Ro Housing Corp" is an amazing example of such a senior residency project. I am proud to have served :):)
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          Sep 22 2013: Hi Paul:>)
          I think your observation regarding optimists/pessimists is very good!

          I LOVE the idea of a "Peace Garden Healing Center" incorporated in all town/city plans! I also agree that incorporating senior residence facilities and senior centers is a great idea.

          Communities are made up of people....families.....so in addition to other considerations, we need to look at what families need when we are planning/designing/developing villages, towns and cities.
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        Sep 22 2013: why Hi, Colleen
        Vermont is a beautiful state. Not densely populated, wealthy with many resources, I would suspect that people living there are content with their situation.
        However, I have been to places and have seen things that show the worse of man. In most situations of large urban areas, too many people are crowded together and the worse of man is
        the rule of the day.
        A number of years ago, an instructor in a community planning class suggested that the ideal size of a city is 100K in population and there must be a green space of at least 30 miles of green space around the town to balance the pollution of... 100K population.
        I can not see great urban centers of prosperous happy people... I have only seen great urban centers of misery.
        So, where does this conversation fail... Consider, all the useable wealth in the world is less then $100 trillion, If half the world's population lived in urban centers about 3.5 Billion... that would use about $30,000 each to provide all the wonders promised. No where near enough, and then it would be gone.
        By the way, Mr. Feldman version of history is not what my immigrant family found, the big cities fostered unemployment and poverty, that is why we left the big cities as soon as we could.
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          Sep 22 2013: Hey Mike:>)
          I wouldn't say Vermont is wealthy. If you look at the charts, we are about in the middle.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_income

          I live in one of the poorest counties where there is quite a bit of poverty. We are also known to have some of the most effective initiatives because we have a GREAT director and staff in the Regional Planning Commission, and board members who are positively moving forward. We are aware of the poverty, and our regional and local plans reflect the needs appropriately.

          I don't agree that the "worse of man is the rule of the day". It may be your rule, and I do not agree with focusing on the "worse of man". I believe in focusing on how we can improve our communities to bring out the best in people.

          In our planned developments, there are usually green spaces in the design and obviously I think that is a great idea! I'm sorry that you have "only seen great urban centers of misery"! Come on up to Vermont and I'll show you what good planning can do!

          There are many elements to history....don't you think? I mentioned one element, Jonathan Feldman mentioned another element.....perhaps you can add to that.
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        Sep 23 2013: Paul,
        I am not a pessimist, I am a pragmatist. I have never said that a city could not have all the wondrous things that have been discussed in this conversation, What I have said or implied is that it will be difficult to deal with all the programs where you have megalopolis of 10 or 20 million people. From an environmental point of view, a city of 100 K population is about the limit.... I'm talking about water, sewage, garbage, the mundane... If you increase the population by a factor of 100, the cost goes up a thousand. As I have said before, if 55% of the global population congregates in a giant cities as envisioned and all the wondrous programs to bring these cities to the level implied will take more wealth then is globally available... leaving nothing for us poor country mice.
    • Sep 21 2013: There were millions and millions of immigrants who were saved from unemployment, poverty, and destruction by big, urban, dense cities. This is a basic part of U.S. history. Just read it.
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        Sep 21 2013: Good point Jonathan, and I think it's important to revisit our history for the purpose of learning.

        It is also important to consider ALL information, as you insightfully mention in another comment....

        "....different cities have different crime rates, the city managers do things differently, the economic and social conditions vary, etc. Figure out that variation".

        Laws and practices that are in place on several different levels impact sustainability, land use plans impact sustainability, town/city managers and governing bodies impact sustainability, location may have an impact, etc. etc. etc.

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