…..and I do not even know what they are. Not really. But, somehow, the city and it’s ways ‘get’ to us now. And we don’t ‘like it’. If someone asked, “What, exactly, don’t you like?” I would be hard-pressed to make a list that didn’t sound petty and selfish.
And, really? C’mon? Are trees and ravens and squirrels ALL that great? I mean, ‘Seen one whale, seen ’em all!’, right?
Wrong. Somehow the forest and the ocean delivers up a deeply real sense of calm and tranquility while, at the same time providing an even stronger sense of living life to the fullest. It is a stimulating relaxant if that makes any sense.
But, of course, OTG is a personal choice and, while it is a good choice for those who have chosen it, it is not for everyone and some people can’t imagine living this way. Having now lived again a few weeks amongst the parking lots, traffic lights, line-ups and sirens-in-the-night, I cannot imagine living anywhere else other than OTG, myself.
And we are not alone in those feelings. As Sal tries to recover (hindered by a new flu) friends and neighbours call in and, after a few minutes, the conversation trends toward ‘life’ on the island, it being a paradise, us being in Hell and all that sort of thing. It is really interesting that living OTG seems to suit all of those out there very well. And, of course, we miss being there. A lot.
However, just as the gap seemed to be as great as it could be, someone (a developer) is trying to market vertical living as a new concept. A Green one, no less. ‘Smaller footprint!’ And, I suppose it is. We have had residential highrises a long time (started in 1925) but we have not had highrises with gardens on the roof and ‘community garden boxes’ added to the mix. Electric bikes. Transit. Community trails on parklands that you can drive to in an Uber…..
(you can see where this is going, can’t you?)
Basically what they are saying is, “We intend to pave paradise and put in a parking lot but one with planters. Keep a few trees, put ’em in a tree museum……charge you thirty bucks just to see ’em.”
“Oh, And the Big Yellow Taxi is on your app.”
The irony is: If you do not own a cheap set of wheels and the nearest ‘wild’ trees are a long way away from your urban village, some bean-counting parent will say, “Well, it is not the real forest, kids, but it’s cheaper to pay the $30.00 than get off on a safari to find some so-called wild trees!”
We are not far off ‘putting in a tree museum’ if you count National Park fees as a harbinger of that.
Clearly, the world is moving to live in denser and denser populations that are trying to emulate hives and herds. Animal Farms. We are subtly designing the Matrix.
“Dave! You exaggerate!”
You are right. I am. I am casting a trend so far ahead that it is very likely the ONE scenario that won’t happen. Having said that, I have lived in Hong Kong. I have visited Tokyo, London, New York and dozens of other big cities. I have watched in detail as Vancouver (and now Burnaby) have ‘sprouted’ high rise ‘town centres’. Highrise living is proliferating faster than is the growing population. ‘So much easier’. ‘Better for the planet’. ‘More efficient’.
They are also a Petri dish for pandemics, a staging ground for drugs, violence and chaos, a sinkhole of concentrated resources and they suffer from a dearth of the natural world. It is the place to be when the complicated systems work well, perhaps, but every single one of those systems has failed multiple times, from transit breakdowns to brownouts, from traffic congestion to crowded hospitals, the list is endless…..the ability of modern man to manage growth is still very much a question mark.
To me, the vertical city is the pot of boiling water that too many frogs are jumping into.