No I didn’t vanish into the nether-dimensions…just flew around the globe to visit Taidong for a few weeks of R&R. The beach at Sanyuan is still gorgeous, as long as you don’t turn around and look at the monstrous empty Meiliwan hotel that corrupt politicians built on top of it (and which is still in legal limbo for now). But yes, you can swim in balmy tropical water in October at Sanyuan, and we did! There is still a little driftwood in the currents, left over from the previous year’s horrible mega-typhoon, Marakot, which caused massive landslides up and down the coast?called by the locals ????). The government has for the most part dredged it up and sold of the valuable logs, leaving mountains of driftwood here and there, piled up like the bones of mountain spirits.
When I am able to blank out the last thirty five years, during which I have continuously despised and fought against the automobile (even when I owned one myself…yes, I’m talking about that rattling death-trap of a 1967 Ford Falcon!), when I can forget all that, it does my heart good to hear people talking about Ecocities. Richard Register has a decent column in Foreign Policy in Focus this week, advocating for more sustainable cities built around better transit systems and less automobile traffic. His points are well taken and straightforward, building upon his books on the subject (from 2001 and 2006): Switch to a pedestrian and transit-oriented infrastructure, built around compact centers designed for pedestrians and transit; Roll back sprawl development while vigorously restoring nature and agriculture; Integrate renewable energy systems while using non-toxic materials and technologies and promoting recycling. Which he follows immediately by pointing out the major obstacles to achieving this dream: A major difficulty in moving toward ecocities is that cars have influenced urban design for 100 years. Many of us caught in this infrastructure find it extremely difficult to get around in anything but the car. The distances are just too great for bicycles, the densities just too low to allow efficient, affordable transit.
From a series of socially provocative cartoons by Tom Gauld, it was really hard to choose one to represent the lot. They remind me vaguely of Ron Cobb (who was incidentally the author of the very fi