Nationwide, we celebrate our country's birthday today with parades, fairs, musical extravaganzas, patriotic displays, car shows, picnics, BBQs, races, and fireworks displays. It's a wonderful thing to remember that we fought for our independence and won it from our "mother country," Great Britain. Even though we became separate and independent, we share a common "mother tongue" (language) and history with the British. We also modeled our government and legal system around the British and French. We remain close and indebted to many of our European neighbors and have supported them in time of need, and they in turn have helped us.
We are proud to be American and live in the "home of the brave and the land of the free." As I walk around the neighborhood, my heart swells when I see neighbors flying "Old Glory," old and worn flags or brand spanking new ones. I remember how some neighbors even painted the Stars and Stripes on their garage doors Sometimes I think I'd like to do that, too.
We've been a free nation for 238 years. Not to be a cynic, but I wonder, how much longer will we be free? Have we recovered enough from our economic downturn, where we sought financial support from wealthy developing countries (such as China)? Are we close to being solvent now? Will our cities rebuild and eliminate urban blight? Or have we shifted the wealth from say, Detroit, to "Silicon Valley?" Is our country now "owned and operated" by the few, the very wealthy?
I live in Santa Clara, CA, and every spare parcel of land is being developed into mixed use shopping centers (retail below, residential above), hotels, condos, apartment homes, senior housing, and huge office complexes. Yesterday I read in our local paper about Santa Clara's new $6.5 Billion Mega development project near the new Levi Stadium:
Mega barely describes the huge project that replaces the Santa Clara Golf Course and proposes 30 restaurants, office buildings, movie theater, jazz/comedy club, Theater/Arts, bowling alley, 350 room hotel, shops, housing, and businesses. It will bring many permanent jobs, businesses, and homes to my neck of the woods. Can the roads and schools support this? Are they planning for new schools and better public transportation, since there's no room for new roads? Coupled with the development surrounding the new Apple headquarters in Cupertino, and development projects in San Jose and Mt. View, this is major development for this area.
I guess Megalopolis will be an apt term to describe this type of development over the next 5, 10, 20 years. It's already getting more crowded and congested here. Urban planners should be busy trying to figure out how to move people and cars around, or if no room for cars, how will the people be moved? And if half the 20-30,000 new employees/residents have children, the schools need to ramp up to plan for quality education. I see the Agnews land plan has just been finalized for a combined K-8 grade and high school for Santa Clara Unified and San Jose is building a city park on the same property. This should help.
I'm just overwhelmed with all this development and progress. I'm sure that's how the Native Americans felt when the European settlers came. And how the Spanish/Mexican/Americans felt as entrepreneurs from all over descended on California and the West. The world is changing so rapidly. How are we to cope?
Well, as a teacher, tutor, and author, I say, we need to read more, learn to critically think, analyze, evaluate more. We need writers, teachers, readers now more than ever. Read on. Write on.
Tags: development, education, rich v. poor, megalopolis, urban planning, wealth and land management, children, future, growth.