Friday, July 09, 2010

A Place to Live

I took the bus to Vancouver this time because the schedule worked out better and just to compare it. It was nice to be able to walk from home to the bus station. (The train station is way out of town.) And Cafe Sola is next door so I could grab a coffee before I left. I'd have to say the train is more comfortable, even if it is slower. On the bus, even with two seats to yourself, it's almost impossible to find a comfortable position to sleep. But I don't mind too much. I love to watch the countryside go by and there was a beautiful sunset.

From the train you tend see the industrial underside of cities and towns. That can be a little ugly. On the bus you pass the miles of strip malls, big box stores, and acres of parking lots filled with gas guzzling vehicles. Even uglier, if you ask me!

The bus stopped in Kamloops for breakfast. It was a beautiful sunny morning. Probably hot later but then it was just right. A touch of cool from the night but balanced by the warmth of the sun. The Starbucks didn't open till 6am so I wandered those acres of parking lots around those big box stores and strip malls. It seemed to go on forever. And not a single bench or seat or picnic table. Not that you'd really want to sit out there. There's also not a single plant or tree, just concrete and asphalt. I spotted some green behind the buildings and I thought it might be a park. No, a cemetery. Only the dead get grass and trees and flowers and places to sit.

So what kind of place would I like to see?

Well, it wouldn't have cars, strip malls, big box stores, acres of parking lots, fast food chains, "convenience" stores full of junk food, suburbs, or McMansions.

Most people would probably think I've just rejected all of civilization. If you ask me, this kind of "civilization" isn't particularly civilized.

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to live without these things. And be happier and less of a burden on the planet.

So what would it be like? With no cars it'd be smaller, a few kilometers across maybe. So more of a town than a city. And when I say no cars I don't mean parking your car at the edge of a pedestrian area. I mean you don't own a car. Within town you walk or ride a bike. To go further there'd be public transit like trains.

Think about all the area covered by roads and parking. Imagine that turned into green space with walking and cycling paths. Without the need for streets housing could be scattered among the trees. And the "green" space wouldn't be the unnatural lawns we're currently obsessed with. It would be the local native vegetation - grasslands, forest, desert.

Ok, I'll wake up now. I'm sitting in Vancouver - about as far from this fantasy as you can get.

1 comment:

  1. I hopped on and off Victoria's harbor ferries today. That was fun. And between bus, boat and foot, I covered a lot of ground. And visited a brilliant bakery/coffee shop and a brew pub.