Thank you Twomanytaxes for your comment on the original BAD, BAD BOYS AND GIRLS posting.

I know from your past posts that there are a number of observations based on your experiences in Fairfax County, the National Capital Subregion and elsewhere that do not seem to fit within our overarching conceptual framework. Hang in there, it may turn out that in fact most do.


Thank you Jim W. for articulating your path. When one does what you suggest really needs to happen, it sounds a lot like our path but may seem to some to be easier.

Also Jim W., thank you for using the S/PI vocabulary to outline your path. I long ago promised Jim B. a glossary based on the LEXICON in The Shape of the Future and on Section IV of HANDBOOK to use in Bacon’s Rebellion but this project has been too often sidetracked. It will be part of TRILO-G.

Here are some additional notes on the original BAD, BAD BOYS AND GIRLS POST:

The BAD, BAD BOYS AND GIRLS posting is a draft. We will refine it based on comments and feedback, both in this blog and off line.

TMT suggested that we recycle the post in the MainStream Media. We long ago gave up trying to get WaPo and other MSM to address human settlement pattern issues beyond “he said, she said.” From personal conversations, I know that some reporters actually understand more than reaches the printed page. Jim B. has more faith than I that this is not a clear reflection of publishers understanding of MSM’s short-term economic self interest.

In their comments on the original post, many of the commentors come back to the same question, how do we get it done?

Jim B. is right, there is no hope in a democracy unless a large number of citizens understand the problem; that the problem is worth solving; and that the problem can be solved.

That complex understanding is the function of PROPERTY DYNAMICS. PROPERTY DYNAMICS is on hold while we complete TRILO-G. (One of the four co-designers of PROPERTY DYNAMICS who had agreed to be responsible for administration and supervision of PROPERTY DYNAMICS decided to run for political office.)

We will push ahead with PROPERTY DYNAMICS once TRILO-G is completed. The roots of PROPERTY DYNAMICS go back to the late 80s so it is not likely to wither away.

Comments and feed back come in many forms and from many sources. They fall into two large categories:

First the supporters:

There are several subsets of the supporter category:

Those who agree in general with the overall goal but wonder how it will happen. We all agree that Fundamental Change in settlement patterns and Fundamental Change in governance structure is a huge, daunting task.

Many have given settlement pattern and related subjects careful consideration and some have a pet short cut – a third political party, a tweaking of the governance agency structure, application of a simple tax regime, packages of transport efficiency and demand reduction ideas, a new technology to inform citizens, rekindling the conservation ethic of the 19th and early 20th century, the list goes on and on. Jim W’s suggestion I the original post, as noted above, is among the most comprehensive. I wish there was a short cut but so far the evidence is to the contrary.

I often remind Jim B. that even discussing things which would be a part of a comprehensive solution only gives those who do not want to face Fundamental Change an excuse to avoid reality. As my father used to say: “You cannot get from Atascadero to Honolulu by planning a trip to Pismo Beach.”

Many of the general supporters become committed to some good work or another because the idea of Fundamental Change is just too big to tackle.

Finally there is a group who agree with specific observations and solutions. They tend to be professionals who say “I agree about ‘X’ but my (supervisor / elected leader, boss, publisher, editor, planning director, etc) would fire me if my support were made public.” A surprising number work at VDOT.

Most of the positive feedback comes in private communications, not in a public fora. That says something about the effectiveness of blogging and other “open” systems to contribute to Fundamental Change.

Second the detractors:

Most detractors who take the time to respond are employees / consultants to / unpaid shills for those who profit from, or hope in the future to profit from dysfunctional human settlement patterns.

There is a second group of detractors who have invested economically and / or psychologically in dysfunction. They either do not want to admit they made a mistake or realize that if a lot of citizens understand their collective mistake, the investment will disappear.

This second group is heavily influenced by advertising, especially for autonomobiles and shelter.

Over the years S/PI has suggested that foundations, good government groups, conservation groups and others take on the assumptions in autonomobile and dwelling advertisements directly. So far to no avail. In a future column we will include some simple, modest consumption advertisement guidelines. Also so see the Backgrounder “New Metric for Citizen Well-Being.”
Lest anyone be distracted by the bombast and rhetoric of some commentors in the original string we will add some footnotes when we edit BAD, BAD BOYS AND GIRLS.

We will point out that the market analysis that supports our positions was carried out over three decades for public agencies, developers, builders and conservation institutions. “Same house, same builder, different location analysis” and “per square foot of comparable space analysis” are the key to finding what people really want. It turns out to be far different than what they tell NAHB sponsored surveys they want or what they tell folks they are pleased with concerning their home purchase after they have moved in. This is especially true if their location decisions are being heavily subsidized whether they know or admit it or not.

Some of this analysis has been confirmed by work of graduate students in our courses at the University of Virginia and elsewhere.

We distilled and generalized this research into five fundamental relationships we call Natural Laws of Human Settlement Pattern. Anyone who wants to can get out a map, a scale, a calculator and a pad and with publicly available information – but not much data from public agencies – can replicate the these natural laws.

Two years after competing The Shape of the Future no one with an understanding of how settlement patterns actually evolve had challenged any of our basic assumptions. At that point we had decided to change venues and to facilitate the move tossed out ten lateral file draws full of individual studies that support the theses and principles articulated in The Shape of the Future.

Our next Backgrounder will try to tie down just why understanding human settlement pattern is so important and why citizens must overcome Geographic Illiteracy and Locational Obliviousness.


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