Coming off of a bit of a work-enforced break from blogging, I stumbled upon a new resource out of Chicago. It's hard to argue with the title of Jason Tinkey's blog -- The Planner's Dream Gone Wrong -- and, given the epic Packers-Bears struggle scheduled for this coming Sunday, it's as good a time as any to engage a flatlander in a friendly manner before kickoff.
Jason discusses American provincialism in this particular blog entry, quoting Barcelona Deputy Mayor Jordi William Carnes making the observation that "America is important to the rest of world, but spends too much time looking inward."
This is true all the way down to the neighborhood level -- or even single household level, frankly -- but Jason chooses to concentrate of the narrow field of view espoused by new Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as he reinvents Wisconsin as The Weak Link:
This provincial attitude reared its tiny head again this past week, when Wisconsin Governor Scott K. Walker (that "K" is crucial to avoid denigrating the proper Scott Walker) slammed Illinois for it's tax hike and invited businesses to relocate to his state. As James Warren wrote, this shows a lack of a broader vision on Walker's part. He's playing for votes within his own little fiefdom, seemingly oblivious to the fact that if Chicago's economy were to fail, Wisconsin's would go down right beside it. As much as I love our neighbors to the north, Milwaukee does not have the transportation infrastructure necessary to link it to a global marketplace. This is the same guy, mind you, who basically ran for office on his opposition to high-speed rail, which would be one of the best possible assets in building a regional economy.
So allow me to state for the record my philosophy of how the future is aligned: neighborhood - city - region - planet. Note that "county", "state" and "nation" do not exist. These are eighteenth-century constructs that serve little useful purpose in a connected, digital global economy. The hard question is asking what it will take to achieve this in these "United" States. No politician has ever voted themselves out of a job, and yet a thorough realignment of local and federal governance is necessary. Industrialized Europe had to be more or less leveled in World War II for the stakeholders to recognize the value of cross-border cooperation and a free exchange of people and ideas. I certainly hope we don't need such a serious jolt.
Wisconsin and Illinois, despite their football-based loathing, have too many issues which demand cooperation. And you can add Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario to that mix, as well. In coming decades, stewardship of the Great Lakes will become crucial to the region and to the world. Transportation linkages already radiate from Chicago like an octopus, in a common region with common concerns, these absolutely must be brought up to speed with the rest of the developed world. There is really no other option.
Read the rest at: the planner's dream gone wrong: The New Provincials