Saturday, April 3, 2010

Florida Panthers

Yes, I am here to talk hockey. Wait. No. Check this out. Florida panthers are living in an abandoned reclaimed Everglades subdivision. What really interest me about this is the notion of shutting down failed subdivisions and turning them back into actual pieces of the world. That is another huge benefit to lowering population growth that America refuses to think about, and Japan gets entirely wrong. Due to Kyoto's declining population lots of unused elementary schools are turned into public theaters and museums. Very nice.

Pair that with this piece that I put up on Facebook (pointed out by Alana) last week. Think of how much better Florida would be if people's beach front vacation homes were rendered back into nothing. Not to mention all of the go-kart tracks, t-shirt shops and strip malls that accompany them. I could go on about this article forever but I don't feel like sorting out all of my issues with the issue. I would have to say that, given that it is a barrier island, nothing should be done to save any home built on Holiday isle. Buying there is stupid. Building there is stupid. Telling people not to use the beach is stupid. Having buildings south of 98 is stupid, conceptually. Any further building in Destin is stupid and has been for a long time. While part of me saying this is out of gross sentimentality it also comes from more disciplined places. I think Destin, seeing cheap money is only putting itself in a downward spiral that will only be arrested by global climate change and the natural course of nature. How do I rectify this with my view that people shouldn't have trespassed on my grandmother's beach? Good question. I am sure I have an answer.

(Update: Here are some good links on the topic.)

I am trying to find a study on specifically what I was talking about but I am having trouble. "Aspenization" is mentioned heavily and is slightly different but also applicable. Aspenization is when an area becomes suddenly popular and wealthy people move in to build lavish second homes and land prices and property taxes shoot up forcing the middle class out to surrounding cities, commuting in by car while other people move in to take low-paying service jobs and live in cheap rentals, thus destroying the middle class base of a city.


The Morholt said...

Are your objections to go cart tracks strictly aesthetic? I hate them, but don't know that they are worse than businesses like, say, a garage, an oil change center, a landscaping center, a parking lot. Just asking because I'm not sure if you are speaking out of the aesthetic revulsion we all feel when we see our childhood homes tarted up and pimped out to the masses or if there is planning element to disliking tourist-oriented spaces like tshirt shops and tracks.

wwc said...

My argument would be that go-kart tracks aren't always bad. They can have their place. What happened to where I grew up, to me, seems another great crisis of imagination and a rush to make cheap dollars thereby lowering the overall value of the place in general. Destin is/was a big deal because it has some of the nicest beaches in the world. I am not sure how putting a go-kart track on one or a t-shirt shop on one especially enhances that. Especially when you are tearing down sand dunes and scrub pine forests to do it. In the end what you do, in my opinion, is lower the over all value, both real and metaphysical, for the sake of cashing in on some short term value. So while you could have a small, stable, economically viable, aesthetically pleasing community, you trade it in for the slow spiral into "how do we build more parking lots and roads to the shopping center and attract people who will take lower wages to sell t-shirts while raising property taxes to make sure that no one that makes those wages can live here, and gee, come to think of it these sand dunes are pesky, let's take them down." So in the end the focus becomes on maintaining the false, tourist economy imposed over whatever else was there de-emphasing what was the real value anywhere. Build a go-kart track somewhere in the middle of Alabama where there is no other draw. One of the largest issues is that people are attracted to natural beauty and then at a complete loss for how to enjoy it. That is one reason I like hunters....but I am off topic.

The Morholt said...

Got it. that makes perfect sense (except perhaps that central Alabama is beautiful too, so not sure how a go cart track there is better, but i get the idea.)

wwc said...

I was being half ironic about Alabama. I just meant that there were also times and places for go-karts. A red clay clearing in the woods seems a lot more sensible than by a beach. Whatever state it is in.

The Morholt said...

Aspenization is what we have in San Miguel, compounded by the fact that most of the rich here are not year-round residents. it eats the soul of a town.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.