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"The Breakdown of Nations"

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"The Breakdown of Nations"

Old 12-29-19, 06:14 PM
  #26  
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The "end" is unlikely, if you mean the end of the human race or of our civilization. But how crazy is it we've gotten ourselves into a situation where we have to seriously ask, does this mean the human race will go extinct? Even if the answer is, fortunately, no?

What is probable is new and worsening misery for hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of people. The hundreds of millions are pretty much baked in at this point, with 1.5C of warming increasingly regarded as committed. Committed not for any scientific or technical reason, but because we've so far chosen not to do what could be done.

What misery? Becoming a climate migrant because your home or farm or city or country is underwater. Because of weather extremes that mean your crops won't grow or moving habitability zones made your ecosystem collapse. Because you don't have drinking water due to long-term drought and depleted aquifers. Because there's a war on over what diminished natural resources are left. Like that.

The billions are avoidable, and we should avoid that. We avoid that by stopping putting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere as soon as possible, and also, by some miracle of thermodynamics which hasn't happened yet, we figure out how to remove, at scale, the CO2 we've already put up there.


https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...nderwater.html

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Old 01-04-20, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Unlikely to anticipate the breakup of cities, without some kind of catastrophe.

Here in Metro Boston is a pleasant prosperous suburb of Newton, "The Garden City." It was formed in the late 19th-20th Century as a coalescence of several villages, some centered on trolley line stops, and each neighbor hood is distinctive.
Sorry, Newton was founded in 1630, and it included what is now Cambridge and other areas. The name changed a couple of times, and it became a city in the 1880's. It is true it is made up of several villages, but they were not independant towns. Boston, by contrast, did grow by absorbing formerly independant towns.

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Old 01-05-20, 10:40 AM
  #28  
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Anyone here read that book? I have a physical copy that I brought home from the library. Pawed through it briefly and will get into it more when there is time (just finished a book on Distraction in the Modern Age). The author asserts that decentralization, and the style of life that follows, is a better environment for human beings to live in and this includes decentralization of power. Architecture and Cities have a lot to do with arranging for a decentralized state of existence. Every city in the USA grows through overexpansion. Same thing up here.




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Old 01-05-20, 06:46 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Unlikely to anticipate the breakup of cities, without some kind of catastrophe.

Here in Metro Boston is a pleasant prosperous suburb of Newton, "The Garden City." It was formed in the late 19th-20th Century as a coalescence of several villages, some centered on trolley line stops, and each neighbor hood is distinctive.
Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
Sorry, Newton was founded in 1630, and it included what is now Cambridge and other areas. The name changed a couple of times, and it became a city in the 1880's.

It is true it is made up of several villages, but they were not independant towns. Boston, by contrast, did grow by absorbing formerly independant towns.
Thanks for the clarification, @ironwood; Wikipedia was my source, and the context of my original reply was:
Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
Hi Jim, I haven't read the book... yet. (I have about 1500 books on my hard drive to go through).

By "Breakdown" the author means planned re-organization, not destruction. From the book jacket synopsis we read:

" In The Breakdown of Nations Leopold Kohr shows that, throughout history, people living in small states are happier, more peaceful, more creative and more prosperous.


Virtually all our political and social problems would be greatly diminished if the world’s major countries were to dissolve back into the small states from which they sprang. Rather than making ever-larger political unions, in the belief that this will bring peace and security, we should minimize the aggregation of power by returning to a patchwork of small, relatively powerless states, where leaders are accessible to and responsive to the people. "
in a subsequent post, @prairiepedaler reported more detail, with diagrams:
Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
Anyone here read that book? I have a physical copy that I brought home from the library. Pawed through it briefly and will get into it more when there is time (just finished a book on Distraction in the Modern Age).

The author asserts that decentralization, and the style of life that follows, is a better environment for human beings to live in and this includes decentralization of power. Architecture and Cities have a lot to do with arranging for a decentralized state of existence. Every city in the USA grows through overexpansion. Same thing up here.
IMO Newton, MA which came about as an organic expansion through duplication,


wherein ‘New Towne” was a village of Cambridge, MA in the 1600’s; Newton, MA was a conglomeration of villages in the 1800s, and even more separate without the automobile.

Indeed, according to Wikipedia
Newton, according to Muir, became one of America's earliest commuter suburbs. The Boston and Worcester, one of America's earliest railroads, reached West Newton in 1834.

Wealthy Bostonian businessmen took advantage of the new commuting opportunity offered by the railroad, building gracious homes on erstwhile farmland of West Newton hill and on Commonwealth street.

Muir points out that these early commuters needed sufficient wealth to employ a groom and keep horses, to drive them from their hilltop homes to the station.
So my characterization of Newton was not so much political-legal, but more sociological. Hypothetically, 21st Century Newton could “de-construct (breakdown)” into the “better“ (small) cities (villages) within a city.


↓↓↓↓

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Old 01-05-20, 08:20 PM
  #30  
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ɅɅɅɅ

@Berner and I posed to this thread, ”Enforcement- How to deal with harassment from people driving cars?” re the stresses of “larger political unions” and the cars needed to traverse them.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Originally Posted by berner View Post
don't know what to do about harassment but there are some good suggestion from CB HI…

There was a sense of community which is lacking in many places today so there is little connection to others. The frenetic pace of our society leaves little time or inclination to build those connections and the situation seems to be getting worst.

Several years ago I read an article in which psychologists or ethnologists created situations for experimental animals where they were put under pressure of over-crowding and or limited food supply. What they found was that pressure produced aggression and fighting in those animals with and mistreatment of their own young.

Human animals react in just the same way. We can find, weekly, news reports where a parent has killed their own child so these are not isolated incidents. We can find, almost daily, reports a pointless mass shootings. The aggression we may experience as cyclists is a further expression of that pressure.

I live in a small town where there are still many common links so I don't experience harassment. I have in the past lived in a very busy area where I liked the work but not the environment in that part of the world. My solution was to move to a small town.
As another explanation for the stresses that motorists endure:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Besides sitting in front of TV sets and computers, an ultimate sedentary activity is sitting restrained in a car.

I once attended a lecture by a noted psychiatrist that in animal studies, the most potent stressor is restraint. For humans, being in a car is probably the most common occurrence of restraint, not just by a seatbelt, but because you cannot leave a car while moving, particularly on a freeway.

While driving itself may not be that stressful, it’s easy to see that the stress of driving in hazardous conditions may be amplified, because there is no escape.

Furthermore in my experience, the most uncomfortable time on the road is being stuck in traffic, where there is no danger, but unrelenting immobilization. So if stress (specifically distress) is inimical to good health, driving is an added risk exposure, as if we didn’t know that
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Old 01-06-20, 02:06 AM
  #31  
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West Newton has Harris Cyclery, and was home to the late, great Sheldon Brown.
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Old 01-06-20, 07:30 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
West Newton has Harris Cyclery, and was home to the late, great Sheldon Brown.
He is a cycling legend, and that shop a cycling landmark.
Originally Posted by 905 View Post
It's theoretically possible some cyclists haven't heard of Sheldon, so I've prepared the following short biography.

Sheldon Brown (July 14, 1944 - ?) was or is a bicycle mechanic and a recognised authority figure, WWSD ["What Would Sheldon Do?"] having become a self-policing strategy in the cycling community. His technical knowledge is the stuff of legend, and The Times of London described his beard as "a magnificent chin curtain his hero Abraham Lincoln would have sported if Mary hadn't threatened to secede."…
Originally Posted by 905 View Post


Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for that biography. I have been an avid, but lone cyclist in Boston since 1977, but had never heard of Sheldon, until I read his obituary in 2008, soon before I joined Bike Forums.

I have since visited his comprehensive website, and read his tribute to the Bridgestone RB-1, that I learned much later after its purchase what a classic it was (since totalled in an accident). His ShelBroCo Bicycle Chain Cleaning System is a paragon of his mechanical aptitude.

I had never heard of Harris Cyclery, and even passed it on several rides before and after his alleged demise, but did not even notice it. Afterwards I did buy a trunk bag there, though it is not my LBS.

My loss over those many years.

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Old 01-06-20, 08:53 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
Anyone here read that book? I have a physical copy that I brought home from the library. Pawed through it briefly and will get into it more when there is time (just finished a book on Distraction in the Modern Age). The author asserts that decentralization, and the style of life that follows, is a better environment for human beings to live in and this includes decentralization of power. Architecture and Cities have a lot to do with arranging for a decentralized state of existence. Every city in the USA grows through overexpansion. Same thing up here.



If most American and Canadian cities are like where I live, then there are already cities within cities. An example of a typical city that happens to be in North Texas is the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. There are 11 principal cities within that Metroplex. Of all things, sprawl brought them together to become cities within a city.

The trouble is that no matter where you choose to live, you probably can't keep a job near your house, but moving near to your new job can be problematic for several reasons. Your job is in an expensive part of town, your job is in a slum, your job is in an industrial area, your new job might not last long enough to commit to a move, etc.

One could be working for a tech firm that only has a location in one of those cities that are bundled together. And the cost of living near that tech firm is far greater than your income can cover. So you commute. From the other city within a city.

If raising a family, schools for your children are a huge consideration, too. Not every city within a city has a public school district you would want your kids to attend. The affluent can afford to send their kids to private schools no matter where they live, yet others don't necessarily have that option.

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Old 01-07-20, 12:43 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
If most American and Canadian cities are like where I live, then there are already cities within cities. An example of a typical city that happens to be in North Texas is the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. There are 11 principal cities within that Metroplex. Of all things, sprawl brought them together to become cities within a city.

The trouble is that no matter where you choose to live, you probably can't keep a job near your house, but moving near to your new job can be problematic for several reasons. Your job is in an expensive part of town, your job is in a slum, your job is in an industrial area, your new job might not last long enough to commit to a move, etc.

One could be working for a tech firm that only has a location in one of those cities that are bundled together. And the cost of living near that tech firm is far greater than your income can cover. So you commute. From the other city within a city.

If raising a family, schools for your children are a huge consideration, too. Not every city within a city has a public school district you would want your kids to attend. The affluent can afford to send their kids to private schools no matter where they live, yet others don't necessarily have that option.
I live in the Metroplex now. This probably doesn’t need to be pointed out because long time visitors to this particular group knows even better than I do there is a giant contradiction to the group itself. No one agrees on what car free is. It is a bit schizophrenic about lifestyles. Some promote tightly dense cities as the solution to all of the world’s ills. The bane of society is sprawl and exurban or suburban living some say. Now we have a suggestion that cities made to a human scale will solve the human drive for travel more than a few miles from home? Not highly dense cities but duplicate cities someone considers of human scale. I don’t get it. It still sounds like a classroom project that cannot possibly work. The need for discovery, personal discovery seems to be ingrained in our DNA. It has been that way since we started the move of the human animal from Africa to one day reach the entire old and new world.

You might love Boston but duplicating Boston till you have five of them in one state will not make people happier that want to live near the Mississippi River. As long as people have a way to get to Florida to watch a rocket launch they will not be satisfied with 200 cities duplicating Toronto squeezed into whatever a human scale might be.

Humans are just too diverse to all want to live in one kind city or to be in one climate or even one nation. So discussing the musing of the author of this one book might be interesting to someone sitting in a bar with friends over a few beers. The philosophy of an avowed anarchist will never get much traction in the real world. It is a valiant effort but no one will seriously try such a plan on a large national scale.

Just thought this was worth mentioning.
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