Saturday, December 28, 2013
UNTOLD STORIES PART3--A MAN WITH A PLAN
TO SAVE THE HUMAN RACE. And before you roll your eyes---let me introduce Joseph Smyth---architect and visionary whose work includes the Children's Hospital of Washington DC and the groundbreaking planned community of Glade Springs, Pennsylvania.
I met him in Cottonwood, Az---chatted a bit ---immediately sensed that I had stumbled across a true visionary. Of course I asked for an interview. Soon I was sitting across the table from him --learning a bit about his favorite subject SUSTAINABILITY.
He has made presentations around the world on this subject---most notably at the Rio conference.
Old enough to be retired but going strong---he shows me this upcoming presentation to local high school students.
He was acquainted with and inspired by Palo Solari, designer of Arcosanti--the futuristic city under construction between Phoenix and Flagstaff.
Here's what I gathered from my interview of Joseph Smyth::
1. Civilization began when humans clustered in agrian based communities/cities---communicating, cooperating, creating culture--enriching each other in a thousand ways.
2, Urban sprawl (auto centered living) by requiring vast, massively wasteful and destructive infrastructure--is incredibly expensive--enslaving us in long work lives to pay for it--- divides and isolates us--- swallows up our resources.
3. Creative Clustering can reduce the cost of city building / housing to a small fraction of its current cost and preserve our environment. Building pedestrian friendly cities--can make life more interesting and liberate us from much drudgery.
4. Sustainability must be our prime goal or we will wreck ourselves and our world. What humanity needs is a design revolution. We can have the good life---indefinitely---when we design and live sustainably.
HE WENT ON TO SAY: (I paraphrase ).
Sustainability is about a true sense of ownership. (i.e. enough personal control to feel accountable and responsible for a thing)
Rent is the opposite of sustainability. (i.e. not enough investment to feel responsible for a thing)
He asked me a seminal question: Who washes a rental car?
Honoring natural and man-made beauty is a principle of sustainability. (what we hold dear is what we will take care of )
Those traveling just north of Springerville, Az---stop at AVERY'S and see his influence.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: How lucky I am to meet such interesting people.---people who care about the good of the world. The good life. The long lives we enjoy are the gift of visionaries, designers, inventors like my friend Joseph. To whatever extent we are "tweaking" our own life and the things we own---we are also visionaries and inventors---participators in the process. .