- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why we cannot be slave to the economy

Crazy opinion piece here in Reuters suggesting that the fastest way to revive "the economy" is to legalize drugs and tax them. There is probably little doubt that this would "work" in a sense. But it is equally obvious that it cannot be done without forever transforming that "economy" into something very different to what it was before. This example highlights the obvious, but often forgotten fact that economies should not be judged purely on dollars and whether it is in overall growth or contraction as financial economists would have us believe. The lesson is especially important in times like these when our economies are contracting. If governments must experiment with fiscal stimulus, then at least do it in ways that will improve quality of life in real tangible ways rather than just trying to push the lever of growth over substance. If you have followed this blog, you will know what we mean by that - things like urban redevelopment into walkable safe car-free communities, better train systems, mass transit, Velib type programs and the like.

1 comment:

Tania said...

I just can't understand what for the car companies need money from the different governments. To continue manufacturing cars that nobody wants/can buy? The real change resulting from this crisis should be the understanding that not everybody need to work in a factory. Japan needs to reactivate the agriculture and the fishing. Why not to give a piece of land to anyone who is interested in farming?