Thursday, October 17, 2013

It was a dark and foggy night in the future

"It was a dark and foggy night in the neighborhood where nothing really happens…so there goes that drama". Caption from photographer Celine Chamberlin's photo

There is a TV show worth seeing and a book worth reading.

The TV show because it is excellent. The book because I think it's wrong but I also think it is excellent. It's an intelligent counterpoint to the depressing malaise in the US body politic, an aspirin to the headache that passed for Congressional politics this past week.

Controversial author and professor in urban development, Joel Kotkin, uses the suburb to tell the story of America in 2050. The Next Hundred Million describes the suburbs of the future. To Kotkin they are a place of hope.

Says Amazon:

"Suburbia is the future, but not the wasteful lonely suburbia of the 1950s. Instead we must fashion a new kind of suburban landscape, one that selectively borrows the successful and vital elements of big city life and uses them to make more vibrant small cities."

Maybe.

But what will happen with the increasing number of suburban poor, spikes in suburban crime, and the class gentrification in American downtowns?

A new TV show called Continuum points in another direction.

This new cop thriller is a well-acted and brilliantly made Canadian sci-fi (with outstanding FX) filmed in Vancouver (Showcase network in Canada and the SyFy channel in the US and UK).

The Continuum storyline pushes Occupy Wall Street, government shutdowns, and corporate greed to a very different place than Kotkin.

Check them both out. Knowing different futures helps us choose more wisely.

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