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FW: GBlist: Earthships, straw-bale const, etc

Mike wrote
"I've been reading up on Florence in the late 1300's and early 1400's, and
one interesting characteristics of Florentines is, they love to be in town
where all the business is going down, the gossip flows, the family and
neighborhood relationships are happening. As a result, Florence has been a
compact high-density city for centuries. In medieval times, when the city
expanded its walls to encompass a large new area, the commune could not get
people to move to the new "suburbs"--they thought it was too boring to live
away from downtown!...maybe the key to efficient use of land lies in making
the city an exciting, interesting place, full of art and community events?"

I love the ideal of the city of Florence as you described it but I don't think
art and community events are the solution. These people lived in a culture
where the town WAS a community. It was reasonably safe, I assume; it was an
exciting and vital alternative to a world of wilderness and seas and and
strangers . . . Now we are in a world with too many of us. We are suffocated
by our numbers, by violence and disease. Looking around at our cities we feel
unsafe, we feel suffocated, we feel the destruction we have caused. This is
nothing to take comfort in and want to be close to. I don't think cultivating
the arts can be expected to create the community you speak of any more than it
has created that community for New York. Though I guess that could be argued
-- many New Yorkers really love the city. But in our culture, you don't get
that excitement without crime and abuse and poverty and insanity somewhere in
your midst. I won't go further into this on this list but I hope everyone
realizes that if there were fewer of us, we WOULD be able to enjoy the culture
of shared lives, instead of closing off and trying to move as far away as we
reasonably can.

To get back to the topic, I think it's wonderful to explore more sustainable
options for city living. It's crucial that we look into this and work toward a
community more open to these structures. Please consider though, if you
haven't already, that we wouldn't find ourselves here, needing to debate the
options, if we would all have fewer children or be willing to take some of the
extras. There are plenty around. I really think that would put us a long way
toward this idyllic community.

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