Great heron on the edge of a floating dock that’s been slowly breaking away from it’s mooring piers along Rose Creek where it enters Mission Bay. The dock broke loose early on during the storm that began Thursday. It’s now like an inaccessible bridge, which seems an accurate thing to say about most development (despite the hype and occasionally, nice views) in California but in this case, the renegade dock that is part of a potential bridge inspires a connection between me and the heron and myself and you.
Why not develop communities as temporary accommodation of human activities instead of building things that must stand up to extreme natural forces? Mortgages and inheritance anchored by real estate value has been skewing the priorities of development where title to property is insured.
In the Netherlands, architects are building islands of styrene upon which, infrastructure and buildings of an entire city can be constructed, undisturbed by fluctuations in the height of the sea and obtaining energy from effects of temperature differentials between atmosphere and the water. In such an arrangement, the individual owns only the right to use a volume of habitable or usable space. This way of thinking is traditional in the Netherlands, where language, parents and schools internalize values of interdependence and lifestyles reflect them. This tradition notably hasn’t prevented the excesses elsewhere in the world of Dutch Shell, the East India Company and South African colonization. There are environmentalists in Holland but it isn’t the national religion as it was for the nations conquered by Dutch entrepreneurs that came to the American continent prior to the 16th century.
Why not see development as only to accommodate and reflect seasonal rather than permanent changes, including medical facilities, parks, roads, and all kinds of structures? The difference between living in the Netherlands and living in California is that the question, “do you care about the environment?” comes up here when you have to choose between staying alive in an economic sense and acting responsibly towards the ecosystem. People in Holland are economically secure. People here that are now flocking to frack the headwaters of the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi rivers, from Montana to the Great Lakes are leaving sunnier, warmer places to go to North Dakota because there is no other work that will support their families with medical benefits and lifestyles that have been promoted in homes, schools and media for three generations. They identify their selves with those styles and choices, sociologists would say they are directed by them.