Date: May 28th, 2017
The difference between daydreams and visions is that with one, you’re hallucinating.
There’s a lot going on right now. As John Oliver (whom I simultaneously think of as both the father I never had and the son I want) constantly stresses, each Trump headliner hides something even more sinister underneath its fifteen-second fame. This is not normal. And as I and many others have mentioned before, it is not just Trump – Trump is simply the amplifier. This is what we have to remember, getting rid of him will not magically solve all of our problems, but it will confuse and damage the ego of those currently being amplified, which will certainly make room for progress.
However, there’s an insane amount of obstacles in our way, the very least of which is a man who never ever gets in trouble no matter what he does or says. There is always some justification given to us. Between Trump and all the other problems we face, it’s hard to imagine that there could ever be a sunny day.
Yet even now, I have very specific, very positive daydreams about what the future will hold. And I don’t even try. They just are there for me to look at and hope for. Right now, I shall tell all of you about each daydream and how it could correspond to realistic progress:
1. The Frozen Yogurt Stop
The daydream always begins in a medium-size courtyard. Look forward, you see small trees – palm trees and Japanese maple – and benches everywhere. Look up and around, you see we are on a hillside, crowded with natural vegetation. Blue sky. The plants are relatively lush, but present a lighter green than most plants thought of as “lush,” such as the ones on the sides of freeways in New York, Washington, and Wisconsin. Look to the right, and you see a train stop. Fairly modern architecture. Open to the air. A basic white, block-like design with stripes and polka-dots added on in just the right size and amount for color. There’s only enough space for two trains right next to each other. One train is waiting. It is white, with blue and pink stripes flowing front to back. One of the wider blue stripes has the name of the train system on it: Dragons Of The Midwest. There is owl and eyeball art on the wall defining the barriers of the stop. Look to the left, and across the platform, you see an ice cream/frozen yogurt shop. It is narrow but wide, with its own seating area. The colors are blue and pink, again, but pastel this time. Flavors include vanilla, chocolate, and raspberry.
Correspondence: I have to talk about California, it’s where I live. And California actually gives us a good example of regional transport – there is a project coming up to spread high-speed rail throughout the state. The project “will eventually encompass over 800 miles of rail, with up to 24 stations. Because the project is so large, and will run through areas of the state with extremely different geographical, environmental and economic issues, the project has been broken into ten separate sections.” (From http://www.hsr.ca.gov.) Each section has to go through ecological “footprint” testing before construction can begin. The total project goes from Sacramento, and the Transbay Transit Center on a separate train line, down to San Diego. Impressive. But I said the Dragons operated in the Midwest. Turns out, there is an equivalent – actually, two: the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative and the Midwest High Speed Rail Association. Both are Midwestern train organizations set up to become major players in the U.S transport game, even as it evolves. Trains are thought to be the most environmentally conscious transportation option, and environmental consciousness is still rare in many states. The latter of the two is aptly tag-lined “Reinventing Travel. Reinventing The Midwest.” So guys – it’s your move! – get some fro-yo up in there.
2. The Spreadcity
The daydream starts up high, in an invisible helicopter (that is totally not realistic). We are slowly panning over one of those four-leaf-clover highway loops. The highway is an interstate highway, and right now, we are between northern Nevada, Idaho, and Utah – in Idaho, exactly. The highway has made minimal negative impact on the plain it lays over due to the way it was designed. The flowing golden grass gives the whole thing a shimmery effect. The city is essentially a rural county, but everything is modern and connected by bike paths and sleek, small roads. There should be at least one mile of natural space for every building. The only buildings right next to the highway are hospitals, malls, and one huge school that looks like a university except it functions for all grades.
Correspondence: Most of Idaho is already open country, so if one wanted to found a spreadcity, all they would need to do is connect a soon-to-be-not-county – anywhere, really – and create a system by which transportation is quick and efficient, and the governmental buildings and larger parks and service-buildings form a spreadcity center.
Sittyhils are an original idea of mine – a particular type of arcology. The etymology of the word is “city + hill + fun way of spelling = sittyhil.” Sittyhils are basically huge cities, compacted and opened at different areas so they form a mountain-like structure. The idea was formed because I was thinking about Barcelona as it is described in this article: Built-Out Barcelona Makes Space for an Urban Forest. I was delighted, and began to wonder – what if some cities were made with this attitude in mind? What if cities no longer displaced wildlife, what if they just lifted it up? Bushes in the windows and on apartment decks, flowers on the outer walls. Cities are as tall as hills at their core, why not become hills? So dense, but so ecologically stable and positive, that it literally becomes Figure 1 – big, green, and gnarly.
Correspondence: Barcelona is already doing a very good job of minimizing its negative environmental impact and encouraging biodiversity, as I mentioned. So is Singapore, with its National Biodiversity Centre, and Gardens By The Bay, and then there’s this: “We have recorded a total of 392 species of birds and at least 2,100 native vascular plants, of which more than 1,500 species are classified as extant in Singapore. Find out more about our Wildlife in Singapore and learn about the different Ecosystems that exist in Singapore.” (From https://www.nparks.gov.sg/biodiversity.) And just 1 day ago from the time of writing, the Straight Times reported that “NParks announced that over 500 species were discovered or rediscovered over the last five years in joint surveys with nature groups. The agency has also put the afterburners on its Species Recovery Programme, increasing the number of species to 94, up from 46 last year.” Cooooooool. Coincidentally (or not), Singapore and Barcelona are now my two favorite cities. I want to clone myself and send one of me to each city.
Everyone has dreams about what the future will be like. They hope, and hope is good, but they hope, thinking that it is hoping that will make the thing happen. We need more.
Here’s how I like to think of this type of situation.
You are standing in an empty plot of land. There is rope in front of you, going up into nowhere. You reach out and touch the rope, and suddenly you see visions of your dream house, the one to be built on that plot of land. Instead of standing there touching the rope, letting the visions cloud your senses, pull the rope down. It is taking a huge risk, something that is confirmed when you hear a huge crash as dimensions collide and your house becomes what is there. Instead of it floating up there in a cloud, you brought it down into the grit and crust and mantle. But it is worth it, for the house is just as wonderful as you knew it would be, and you were not inactive. You pulled down your rope.
Find your daydreams of the future.
Pull down your rope.
Make it happen.