May 18, 2010

Agenda 21: 'Walkable Urbanism' Rather Than 'Drivable Suburbanism'

World's Largest Cities are Morphing into Overcrowded 'Mega Regions' Defined by Poverty and Pollution

Daily Mail
March 24, 2010

The world’s largest cities are merging into vast ‘mega regions’ which will be characterised by overcrowding, poverty and pollution, a new report warns.

The continuing growth of urban areas is likely to be one of the most significant factors affecting society over the next 50 years, a United Nations agency said.

Such mega regions will stretch hundreds of miles across countries and will be home to more than 100 million people. Last year it was confirmed for the first time that over half the world’s population lives in cities.

The State of the World Cities report claims that urbanisation is ‘unstoppable.’

A mega region, which is often two or more cities becoming connected as increasing numbers of towns and ghettos spring up between them, has already been established in the Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Guangzhou region of China where 120 million people live.

Eduardo Lopez Moreno, the report’s author, said:

The top 25 cities in the world account for more than half of the world’s wealth, and the five largest cities in India and China now account for 50 per cent of those countries’ wealth.’
However, he claims an explosion of mega regions will not necessarily be a bad thing despite warning of ‘further patterns of social and economic exclusion.’
‘They, rather than countries, are now driving wealth,’ Mr Moreno added.

“Research shows that the world’s largest 40 mega regions cover only a tiny fraction of the habitable surface of our planet and are home to fewer than 18 per cent of the world’s population yet account for 66 per cent of all economic activity and about 85 per cent of technological and scientific innovation.’

Anna Tibaijuka, director of UN-Habitat, said:
‘Just over half the world now lives in cities, but by 2050 over 70 per cent of the world will be urban dwellers.

‘By then, only 14 per cent of people in rich countries will live outside cities, and 33 per cent in poor countries.’

Biosphere Reserves – the Kingpin of Gated Communities

By Nancy Levant,
August 30, 2007

Due to the fact that we now live according to legislated lies and scams of global/elite proportion, "conspiracy" takes on whole new meaning. Laws are conspiracies. Media is conspiracy. Ivy League academia (in particular) teaches conspiracy. Professional think tank organizations invent conspiracies. Corporations finance conspiracies. Big Pharma, public and higher mental education, and banks carry forth conspiracies. And we, the people, who watchdog the dogs, are conspiracy theorists. So, conspiracy it is — and it rules our days.

Every time another watchdog is discredited as a liar, is harassed, or publicly or physically destroyed, one can rest assured that that theorist was on to something or someone. After all, elimination of the enemy is the name of conspiracy's game. But when there are so many conspiracies to behold and chase, one realizes that the political world has become a very surreal place — albeit very akin to tell-a-vision.

The world now realizes that the biodiversity/ecology-based land confiscation scheme is a scam of global proportions, and invented by banks, think tanks, philanthropic organizations and elites, and their political and non-profit prostitutes. That secret is out of the bag. But one fascinating component of their "sustainability" MO is the Biosphere Reserve system.

Not one ordinary human being on Earth had any say, whatsoever, about the taking of the world's most pristine and beautiful wilderness areas. To my knowledge, the total, global, confiscated acreage has never been published as the Biosphere Reserves system also includes "conservation corridors" and "buffer zones." We need to know that figure, but we never will.

The truthful reason for the Biosphere system is unknown. Some say the Biosphere lands were taken for their water, timber, and mineral value. That makes sense, and also goes hand in hand with herding of populations into "human settlements," as called for by the U.N.'s Agenda 21. This allows globalist elites and their corporations to strip-mine ecological wealth with some privacy. It also gives credence to a Communist/Socialist system of corporate-governmental ownership of everything that has fundamental monetary value and intrinsic worth AND total control of agriculture and water, which in translation means basic human needs.

Some say that taxable watershed systems located within the Biosphere Reserves are the prize desired by the U.N. to raise the funds for the one-world global military and to ration the water of all commoners. This, too, makes sense in light of collapsing borders, sovereign nations, and angry and impoverished citizens.

On the other side of the conspiracy fence, it has also been suggested that "crisis" is invented to manipulate the masses. In light of the past 5 years, many bright people now consider orchestrated crisis to be of legitimate concern, as 911 brought with it the demise of the American Constitution, new homeland paramilitary organizations and control, and the global government's political bureaucracy system — Communitarianism.

So, in truth, all conspiracies are more than food for thought at this final stage of corrupted political games. We simply can't allow, nor should we ever have allowed, verbatim belief in "the elected" or in science ever again. There are too many lies, cover-ups, and, frankly, professional and highly educated thieves.

And as each day passes, and questions of unethical doings amongst the world's power brokers continue to be raised, and as one observes the scrambling of leadership and their media propagandists; as the world observes their great discomfort while the global watchdogs amass strength and power in growing numbers, and the elite make legislative plans to shut down freedom of speech using new armies in the name of "combatants," the conspiracies thicken as truth awaits its turn in the global spotlight. We know it's coming, but we also know Martial Law is coming.

Who knows when lies rule the day, and people are forced to seek out truth at great risk to their very lives. We do, however, know that many, many people have died due to their close proximity to truth — dead microbiologists, for instance. It is therefore very likely that as more and more truth unfolds, thanks to the efforts of the global watchdog community, small/independent media, and many others worldwide, the world will become a more volatile and dangerous place. The purveyors of lies, especially the big lies, really, really hate to get caught.

And as for the Biosphere Reserves, it has been suggested that they may be home to the world's elite when the "big crisis" hits, as they will be fully separated from the masses in our human settlements — their own personal dreamy and roadless fairy lands, so to speak. It has also been suggested that the corralling of commoners into "human settlements" makes the intention of massive depopulation (1) easier to achieve, and (2) establishes large and clear targets for depopulation missions.

However, as cash/profit/power/fear is the M.O. of the world's elite, many questions remain as to the purpose of global land confiscation and human corralling. It will all be discovered and uncovered soon enough. However, our dilemma is this: ask you neighbors and family about Biosphere Reserves. They've never heard of them. Nor do they realize that all Biosphere Reserves are crawling with grant-funded (translation: governmentally-funded) scientists.

Source: Range Magazine Fall 2005

If 1 + 1 still rings a bell, I would be concerned about (1) pandemic, (2) crashing markets, and (3) martial law paramilitary control, which in fact may have been raised as armies to protect America's elite while we, the rabble, suffer unspeakably in our condensed human settlements. Somehow, Biosphere Reserves and depopulation go hand in hand. Perhaps Biosphere Reserves are the kingpin of "gated" communities.

Nancy Levant is a renowned writer for Constitutional governance and American culture. She is the author of The Cultural Devastation of American Women.She is an opponent of deceptive governance and politicians, global governance by deception, political feminism, the public school system, political economics based upon manufactured wars and their corporate benefactors, and the Federal Reserve System. She is also a nationwide and lively radio personality.

Agenda 21: Master Plan for a New World Order
This global contract binds governments around the world to the UN plan for changing the ways we live, eat, learn and communicate — all under the noble banner of saving the Earth. Its regulations would severely limit water, electricity and transportation — even deny human access to our most treasured wilderness areas. If implemented, it would manage and monitor all lands and people. No one would be free from the watchful eye of the new global tracking and information system. - Berit Kjos,
"Local Agenda 21 - The U.N. Plan for Your Community"

Sustainable Development
The concept of Sustainable Development basically says that there are too many people on planet Earth and that the population of the world must be reduced in order to have enough resources for future generations. [Under the New World Order plan,] the UN should be the global custodian of the Earth and all of its resources. This means that we will be measured by how much we produce and how much we consume as found in the "family dependency ratio." Every person will be valued according to their usefulness. In addition, the UN will control the Earth's resources — energy, water, food and so on. The concept of Sustainable Development can be found in the
Communisto Manifesto and the 1977 USSR Constitution. - Joan M. Veon, The Women's International Media Group, Inc.

Herding Americans into Urban 'Human Settlements'
The second action plan (of Sustainable Development) is called Smart Growth. Smart Growth will increasingly herd Americans into regimented and dense urban communities. Smart Growth is Sustainable Development’s ultimate solution, as it will create dense human settlements subject to increasing controls on how residents live and increased restriction on mobility. In the words of one Smart Growth activist: “It will be the humans in cages with the animals looking in.” -
Transforming America: Sustainable Development

Habitat II - The UN Plan for Human Settlements
Bicycles instead of cars? Dense apartment clusters instead of single homes? Community rituals instead of churches? "Human rights" instead of religious freedom? The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), which met June 3-14 in Istanbul, painted an alarming picture of the 21st century community. The American ways — free speech, individualism, travel, and Christianity — are out. A new set of economic, environmental, and social guidelines are in. Citizenship, democracy, and education have been redefined. Handpicked civil leaders will implement UN "laws," bypassing state and national representatives to work directly with the UN. And politically correct "tolerance" — meaning "the rejection of dogmatism and absolutism" as well as "appreciation" for the world's religions and lifestyles — is "not only a moral duty, it is also a political and legal requirement." - Berit Kjos, Kjos Ministries, June 1996

The Habitat Agenda Goals and Principles (Exerpt from the Preamble to this UN Document)
We recognize the imperative need to improve the quality of human settlements, which profoundly affects the daily lives and well-being of our peoples. There is a sense of great opportunity and hope that a new world can be built, in which economic development, social development and environmental protection, as interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development, can be realized through solidarity and cooperation within and between countries and through effective partnerships at all levels. International cooperation and universal solidarity, guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and in a spirit of partnership, are crucial to improving the quality of life of the peoples of the world. The purpose of the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) is to address two themes of equal global importance: "Adequate shelter for all" and "sustainable human-settlements development in an urbanizing world." Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development, including adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements, and they are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.

Imagining a Less-driven Florida

By Bruce Stephenson, St. Petersburg Times
May 9, 2010

At the zenith of the housing bubble, Florida was an investor's paradise, the American Dream on steroids. Sandwiched within the profligate consumption of resources and adjustable mortgages was a profound belief that the Sunshine State embodied "the pursuit of happiness."

"Happiness," which the Founding Fathers equated to owning property, is having a tough go of it. In 2008, home values in Florida dropped by a third and forecasters rank metro Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach among the nation's 10 worst real estate markets.

Outlying subdivisions have been especially hard hit and, with the toxic brew of crude oil spreading in the Gulf of Mexico, the cost of building a landscape to SUV dimensions is sadly apparent.

Prudence and moderation, hardly an American strong suit, were exempt from the machinations that built these places. The lure of quick riches and property acquisition fueled a speculative madness that has left developers bankrupt, Realtors unemployed, construction workers on the dole, and homebuyers, many minorities and recent immigrants, atop foreclosure lists. The cycle of boom and bust is as endemic to Florida as sunshine; the state has recovered before, but this time, Carl Hiaasen contends, "something radical must happen" ...

Disney World has become an urban prototype, but hardly the one imagined. Its privatized scheme (there is no public space) has been replicated in Florida's proliferation of gated subdivisions. At issue is not just building walls to keep others out; it is what is walled within.

Once a free people isolate themselves from others to "incessantly … glut their lives" with "petty and paltry pleasures," Alexis de Tocqueville argued, the bonds of democracy dissolve, marked by the individual who, even when close to fellow citizens, "does not see them; he touches them, but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country."
In a republic, civic culture and private interests converge at a point of sustaining equilibrium and virtue. The sacrifice citizens make for the public good is the "social bond," Thomas Jefferson wrote, that binds this covenant. Sacrifice and desire intermingle in democratic communities—places where citizens are determinants of a shared destiny, not consumers of staged events. In the democratic experiment, social capital coexists with private capital to foster a synergy of place and create community — something not even the Disney corporation can imagineer.

Imagining a New Florida, a timely documentary produced by the Florida Humanities Council and WPBT2-Miami, delves into the evolving idea of community. (The one-hour program premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. on most Florida PBS stations.) From the White House on down one thing is apparent, the status quo will not suffice:
"The days where we just built sprawl forever — those days are gone," President Barack Obama stated in Fort Myers shortly after taking office.
If the 60-year love affair with the auto-oriented, single-family home subdivision is not over, demographic realignment, ecological limits, peak oil and slumping real estate markets have dampened the ardor. Increasingly baby boomers and millennials, the two largest age cohorts, see their future in "walkable urbanism" rather than "drivable suburbanism."

As the percentage of households without children continues to rise, the current "demographic inversion" will intensify, increasing the demand for apartments, condominiums and small-lot homes in neighborhoods where residents can walk to parks, shopping and transit. Add the escalating price of land, water and oil, and it is apparent why real estate values in metropolitan areas with housing and transit options (for example, Portland, Seattle) have fared far better than Florida cities.

Economist Richard Florida predicts capital will be increasingly attracted to "mega-regions" best suited for global competition: rich in cultural diversity with efficient transportation systems, a range of housing options, healthy ecosystems, and significant research centers. Success will be measured in building more energy-efficient and sustainable communities as the ability to underwrite the far-reaching development pattern of the past 30 years continues to dissipate.

With the federal investment in high-speed rail, the metropolitan Tampa Bay area and Orlando could become a prototype mega-region. Central Florida already has a template to refashion its development pattern, the "2050 Future Vision" that was compiled by the public-private initiative, Linked by high-speed rail, SunRail and future rail lines, in 2050 a third of the region's seven million residents could live in downtowns, town centers and compact neighborhoods. While there is less private space, driving would be optional, environmental lands preserved, public spaces more varied, and by building up rather than out taxpayers save billions in infrastructure costs. Tampa Bay has followed in kind: OneBay, a partner with, also drafted a future vision for its seven-county region incorporating rail, natural land preservation and more intensive urbanism.

In a world growing "hot, flat, and crowded," as Thomas Friedman contends, smart growth, sustainability and new urbanism have moved from novelty to policy. The folly of constructing cities based solely on the auto is upon us, Friedman writes:

"Fossil fuels once thought to be inexhaustible, inexpensive and benign have become exhaustible, expensive and toxic — toxic in terms of our climate, toxic in terms of geopolitics, toxic in terms of the regimes they are powering, and toxic in terms of biodiversity loss."
The oil slick spreading across the gulf illustrates our debilitating paradox — a toxic contagion born of a lifestyle that cannot sustain life.

Whether it is General Motors or outlying subdivisions, investing in oil-dependent industries is not the future. Good physical planning is step one, but we also need to engender a true "hometown democracy" that is an affirmation of a New Florida and not another round of political infighting.

The currently proposed Hometown Democracy Amendment, slated for the November ballot, is not what we need. It represents a citizen revolt, and it came about because the state Legislature failed to lead and envision a sustainable future for Florida. Known as Amendment 4, it would require a public vote on proposed changes to community master plans. Unfortunately there is no accounting for good urbanism in Amendment 4; it is a communal nay, as likely to terminate the reconfiguration of a suburban netherworld into a transit stop as halt a sprawling subdivision. Utilizing limited resources more efficiently will require sharing spaces, places and reinstituting face-to-face relations. The future community — the one we need — cannot be an escape to a Magic Kingdom or arrive by government fiat. It must be vital and authentic, mixing profit with virtue to create what we can rightfully call happiness.

Bruce Stephenson, director of the Masters of Planning in Civic Urbanism Program at Rollins College, is one of many Floridians — including planners and architects, historians and public policymakers, developers and residents of communities around the state — who appear in the documentary "Imagining a New Florida" premiering Thursday at 8 p.m. on most Florida PBS stations.

"Imagining a New Florida" premieres Thursday night at 8 on WEDU-Ch 3. In addition to this statewide documentary the Florida Humanities Council sponsored four regional companion documentaries, including one by WUSF-Ch. 16 called "St. Petersburg: New Place in the Sun," which it will air Saturday night at 10.

Film Explores Florida's Suburban Sprawl

Miami Herald
May 13, 2010

A new documentary produced by Miami's public TV station concludes that Florida must find alternatives to suburban sprawl in order to enhance livability and restore a sense of community.

As the economic crash slows sprawl to a crawl, Miami's public TV station has produced a documentary on urban development in Florida that asks what seems a pertinent question: Do we keep the march of the subdivisions going, or is it time to try something else?

The hourlong program, "Imagining a New Florida," which airs Thursday on WPBT-2, comes down heavily for the latter option.

It concludes that we can't, don't really want to, and should not continue to churn out formulaic, disconnected subdivisions that the film's producers -- and virtually everyone interviewed in it -- contend are unsustainable and lack a cogent sense of community and place.

That message may not go down easy with many Florida audiences, especially those who have eagerly flocked to such subdivisions by the millions. But writer-producer Jack Kelly says he wants Floridians to think about what kind of future we're making for ourselves.

"The assumption is that just because you create a suburban tract that has 600 homes in it, that doesn't necessarily create a community in which people talk to each other, walk around and interact in,'' said Kelly, WPBT-2's vice president of production. "If that's all we want, well that's fine. But we found that invariably people are looking for this idealized concept of a community that's small-town America, where kids can play outside and walk to the park and talk with your neighbors. And yet we don't have that. So the question we ask is, how do you create community in a state that's a poster child for sprawl? And what's community even mean?"
Kelly concedes there is scant counterweight to that view in the documentary. The one developer interviewed is clearly no fan of sprawl. Producers tried but could not procure interviews with officials at the St. Joe Co., which is planning a mammoth urban development in the Panhandle, Kelly said.

The documentary is narrated by former Miami WPLG-Ch. 10 news anchor Dwight Lauderdale. It intersperses interviews with sprawl-skeptic historians, urbanists, planners like Miami's Andrés Duany, and former governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham with stunning high-definition aerial shots of Florida subdivisions and intensely urban places like Miami to make its case that:
  • Absent an overarching vision or strategy, the state has been radically and thoughtlessly transformed by untrammeled development since World War II -- "a joyride of growth," as the documentary puts it.

  • The "big bang" of suburban growth was, the documentary says, the result of deliberate policy decisions to encourage suburbanization of the nation, including affordable, federally guaranteed mortgages and federal highway construction, as well as the availability of abundant and cheap land and gas.
But Kelly said the goal of the piece was not so much to go over old ground as to suggest alternatives.

The $200,000 film was underwritten by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, which asked producers across the state to explore what the state might look like in 2030, when demographers expect its population to reach 24 million.

WPBT looked at the state as a whole, while stations in Tampa, Jacksonville and a couple of other cities investigated their communities (WPBT will show all five documentaries starting at 3 p.m. Sunday).

Kelly and his PBT crew spent a year criss-crossing the state in search of "what works and what doesn't," he said. What doesn't, he contends, are isolated or gated residential subdivisions, including artificial "retirement communities" that separate people geographically as well as by age and income while needlessly consuming land. Residents become utterly dependent on automobiles to get around big distances between home, work and shopping, contributing to the erosion of civic life, the film says.

What does work is a more complicated question, one the documentary doesn't try to answer definitively, though it concludes the template involves old ideas that we gave up because of the car: Walkable, compact, mixed-use communities, whether in small towns, retooled suburbs or big cities.

The documentary skips around the state to explore alternatives.

It winds up back at home with a familiar story, the South Beach redevelopment miracle, which author Brian Antoni describes as a close-knit if quirky urban community within the glitzy tourist district. "Mayberry on Ecstasy," Antoni calls it, probably something you won't find out in the 'burbs.

Florida Must Say No to Amendment 4 (2010)

By BigGator5,
July 16, 2010

If you don’t know, there is a debate going on. A debate whether or not we should be a Democracy or Republic. A debate we are calling the Florida Hometown Democracy Land Use, Amendment 4.

A little technical background on this amendment is in order. The ballot title is: “Referenda Required For Adoption And Amendment of Local Government Comprehensive Land Use Plans.”

If that isn’t a mouthful, take a look at it’s ballot summary:
“Establishes that before a local government may adopt a new comprehensive land use plan, or amend a comprehensive land use plan, the proposed plan or amendment shall be subject to vote of the electors of the local government by referendum, following preparation by the local planning agency, consideration by the governing body and notice. Provides definitions.”
If that isn’t confusing, I don’t know what is. This measure is being supported as a “Property Rights” initiative, but it’s more like a spacial interest initiative. Liberty Sentinel of Florida has the best take on this Amendment:
In most Florida communities, this decision-making responsibility is shared by elected officials and urban planners at the local and state levels. As part of the process, citizens serving on planning boards conduct thorough reviews of development proposals in an effort to balance a host of interrelated concerns, including economic development and environmental quality.

Hometown Democracy would place decisions about growth and development in the hands of the voters, many of whom are more interested in getting their kids to soccer practice or trying to keep their businesses afloat than the nuances of realestate markets or the economic viability of different types of land development. Granted, Hometown Democracy’s plan has a surface-level appeal.

The name itself conveys an alluring image of empowered citizens in neighborhoods of white picket fences. But this populist mask conceals an anti-growth, “close the gates” agenda that could threaten housing affordability, economic opportunity, and private property rights.

Hometown Democracy would turn Florida into a laboratory for a statewide experiment in the radical sort of “ballotbox zoning” that has fueled sky-high housing costs in places like San Francisco, where the median housing price now stands at $620,000.
People in the know also opposed the amendment:

• Largo city commissioners are opposed, citing the plan will “effectively halt development in the city while property owners, developers and the city wait for voters to have their say on amendments in elections.”

• Frank Ortis, Mayor of Pembroke Pines, past President of the Florida League of Cities, and current member of the Executive Committee of the Florida AFL-CIO (ie Union Guy) said: “Amendment 4 will devastate Florida’s economy by costing hundreds of thousands of jobs and driving the unemployment rate even higher. Worse still, Florida’s working families and small businesses will bear the weight of this burden.”

• Ward Friszolowski, former Mayor of St. Pete Beach, a small town that adopted a local version of Amendment 4 in 2006, knows first hand about the special interest lawsuits and higher taxes. “Our experiment in Amendment 4 has turned St. Pete Beach into a battleground for special interests.”

Let’s see: Unions, environmentalists, and cities who already have a local version of the law, know this will be a disaster waiting to happen. Only special interests would like to see this become law of Florida. For once, I am happy about the bipartisan opposition to this amendment. We can all agree that this is a bad idea.

Source: Range Magazine, Fall 2005

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