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Jobs, shopping, cars. Their role: suck you dry.
Posted by Tony on 3rd May 2014 at 17:54:35
Go visit some samples of suburbia that you once knew but haven't seen since the 1980s or earlier. Today was Preston, neither worse nor better than others, but a place that puts the downsides in your face. Of late I've taken more notice of time spent in B list regional centres where it is harder to press the case against cars than in suburbs which I'm visiting for a purpose. Preston was a random result of public transport connections after Journey Planner hadn't helped.

The other known factor is that Saturday lunchtime can be crazier than weekday peak hour when at least most are going in an obvious direction. So for those like me with the luxury of being able to organise time and movement around local conditions, the dysfunction the pollies want to call "congestion" can be largely avoided day to day.

This micro analysis is, as always, informed by my first law of emergence: that originally unpredictable things happen of their own accord within dissipating flows. I don't need to recite here the many over-flows that are byproducts of human over-growth.

I also shouldn't need to mention that jobs, shopping and cars are just the start of a longer list of things proclaimed to be universally aspiration for those who ignore the human potential to be smarter than that. The one I would have added, but for an ancient limitation on subject field length here, was parenting, also in my face today. But there are more that I should leave for now. As always, the progressive end of America (yes it has one) had turned problems we in Oz are only now starting to really see into the entertainment of an earlier generation.

That stretch along Murray Road between St. Georges Road and High Street near Preston Station is a good representative sample of the way car-centric suburbia becomes increasingly discomforting and, to be frank, dysfunctional, as the metropolitan population pushes on hard beyond four million. No number of new expressways will change that. Rather each will create its own disillusionment and only add to the compounding problem. #EWfail is only worthy of particular attention because of its extra large circle of disillusionment and a potential line in the sand ahead of the promised destruction of the likes of Banyule flats.

Being sucked dry by false goals is a bigger problem than that. Tackling it needs to go off in several directions, hopefully more in the spirit of Occupy Wall Street than the French Revolution. Increasing interconnectedness and lifespan expectations make anything more randomly destructive than the road toll almost unthinkable. Rather, a useful first step might be to challenge the direction of the relationship between society as a whole and some of its great systemic products, starting with the Law and the Economy.

Our systemic servants do not good masters make.

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