New and rapidly developing societies tend to begin by imitating the most powerful and attractive models visible - and then to go on to pass them by as the forces and opportunities of new technologies make them unworkable. By current example, the rapidly developing cities of countries in Asia, such as China, India, Korea and Indonesia, are quickly building tall buildings and concentrated central cities in imitation of the successfu-appearing models of the West. At the same time, they are acquiring a host of Post Industrial technologies - from personal-rapid-transit (the automobile) to computerization, sattelite-based wireless communication and robotics, all of which explode the concentrated central city and require new patterns of community organization and new kinds of shelter. Eventually, these two directions will have to divide. Most likely, they will live side by side, in the same awkward duality which western industrial cities currently share with the honored remnants of their own pre-industrial predecessors.


Cities in developed countries, particularly in the US, are already experiencing the duality of a concentrated vertical central urban core surrounded by a spreading horizontal development, exploded by the the automobile and electronic communication. In the small and midsize cities of the middle and western US, (unlike the great coastal and Great Lakes cities with enormous critical mass already in place) efforts to arrest this "suburban sprawl", much less reverse it, have proven futile. Pathetically tiny collections of a few high rise towers are surrounded by vast fields of repetitive horizontal development, dominated by an infrastructure of roads, wires and pipes. This mess may be no more than the nascent Post Industrial community struggling to born, dragging its umbilical history behind it. Meanwhile, the technology of concentration of the Industrial Age and a new technology, which mitigates against it, pulls the city in opposite directions. The outcome is likely to be an organization which resembles neither city nor suburb as they currently exist.

There is little argument any more that nineteenth and twentieth century industrialization has contributed to the deterioration of the global environment, to say nothing of local and regional degradation. The only remaining question is how much. The deniers continue to claim, in the face of evidence to the contrary, that it the the magnitude of the effects do not require an overhaul of the industrial system. Much of this resistance would diminish if a viable process to achieve a transition to an alternative technological system which does not require individual sacrifice or threaten vested interests could be found. In the absence of this, gradualism is more likely to succeed than expedition.

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