Sunday, October 05, 2003

Verification Notes: Walking everywhere

According to an article in NEWSWEEK, October 6th 2003, recent research reveals suburbanites are walking less, and gaining weight. In fact the less dense housing is, the more likely people are to be overweight. Town planning is given as one of the causes as there is no “meaningful” places to walk to , like neighbourhood shops.
“We are building obesogenic environments,” says Dr Billie Giles-Corti of the School of Public Health at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

Some good news… Prince Charles is building an experimental town in Poundbury, designed to get people out of their cars.

Sound like the technique of RADIALITY, touched upon in an earlier visit would be useful. Unfortunately I did not go into the techniques very much. Something for a later trip.

End of Verification Notes Walking everywhere

Journey 6 part one

I need to change tactics. My search for technological solutions to ecologically sustainability turned up a surprise. In Porena, as I now call it, sustainability is based on culture, not technology. Technological inventions like the automobile, the radio, TV etc have all spread rapidly in our society. But in Porena it is ideas that have spread at that rate. How? That’s what I would like to explore here today.
Something tells me, to enjoy myself. I remember the message left for me in the central park on my first visit - enjoy yourself!
The Journey:
I’m looking at a tiled floor. I look up; I am in a waiting area. Some distance away I see glass doors and a London-type double-decker bus. As I approach I see PORENA on the front as its destination. Up on the top deck, a few people are already sitting waiting for departure. The street outside is wet from the drizzly rain that hits my face as a light spray as I go over to the bus. The road looks like a bottomless black river reflecting the streetlights through the darkness.

The bus leaves, turns a corner out onto a concreted dual carriageway.

“Fares please” I hear the conductor turn up. “I’m going to PORENA” I say, wondering how I will manage this as I have no money. No problem - the conductor just shakes his head slightly and moves off without saying anything. There is obviously no fare to PORENA. Why does that make sense?

Daylight comes, and the bus passes through gates opened in a high fence that is topped by barbed wire. The thought strikes me for the first time that a place like this may need to be separated from places which run on other principles.

The bus is now going along a dusty lane, through green countryside. Trees flank the lane and I see green fields either side of the road. In the distance I see what I presume I have come for, a city. The buildings reflect white in the sunlight which contrasts with the green hills behind.

We arrive at some kind of terminal building. I get out of the bus into the warm sunshine and go straight into a glassed hall similar to the one I left. I find the lift - my cream-coloured lift which has always there. Already now it looks like people are moving around one floor up. Again I get the impression the building is circular, and on stilts. I take the lift to the walkway above. I come up on the long corridor that seems to sweep around. Like the airport, I never really explored what was to the right so this time I walk past the cafeteria. They serve chips and mayonnaise, and the gift shop on the left. On the right I see the tail of a large aeroplane. Continuing, in the shop there are some books on display. I recognize the name of the author but can’t quite take in the significance of what I am reading.
A special stand for this author’s books contains titles like “Porena Classic” and “Porena Tales”. Special editions. I don’t want to look.

Ok this is a visit I can steer it. Not wanting to look into these books, and feely an eerie feeling for being closer to something than I would like, I carry on. The urge to drink coffee hits me. Coffee! - a good idea always enjoyable. Organically grown. I sit down and join someone at the table. I feel the need to talk to someone, just talk.

“Hi, I thought I would meet you here”
A guy in a checked shirt looks straight at me.

“I figured you would be needing some help by now.”
“Tell me about how you live your life,” I find myself saying.
Well today is like most days, I got up this morning, I live on the outskirts. There’s a lot of nice canoeing out there.
“Did you take the train?” I ask.
“ No.”
“ Did you come here to work?”
“ No. I was planning to meet you.”

“That’s great - you can help me out then? What do you suggest?” I reply.

Well, he said: “What do you want to know?”
My reply: “to know how you got rid of the cars.”

I know this is the big one. It’s not really the cars in themselves; it’s the need for individual transport that creates automobile traffic that creates environmental hazards.

“OK, let’s go and take a look.” He replies with a smile.
We go down to the ground again and under the building

I said, “This used to be a motorway, didn’t it?” I could see that when I first came. Is that true?”

“Yes it is, actually to show you this was part of my plan. Think of this as a study trip. Now, the roads were removed as part of making everything close to everything else. We gradually adapted the city along radiality principles.

I follow a circular path and then come out into a natural environment, trees, - a small wood.

“But how did you manage that?” I asked in amazement.
“Surely it is difficult to get consensus from everyone to do such a radical thing - I mean some of the buildings were probably in good shape?”
“Everyone was in agreement.” He explained there was no need for a lot of argument and debate about it.
I fumble to understand
“I can’t understand that. Everyone was in agreement. No I don’t believe what is going on here.”
He replies; “I know it’s difficult to follow, let me show you around.”

End of Journey 6 part 1

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