An employee walking along a thermal pipe at the Kamojang geothermal
power plant near Garut, West Java, on March 18. State utility provider
 Perusahaan Listrik Negara is targeting an additional 135 megawatts of
electricity from three new geothermal plants. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,.. etc.)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“.. Nuclear Power Revealed

So let me tell you what else they did. They just showed you what's wrong with nuclear power. "Safe to the maximum," they said. "Our devices are strong and cannot fail." But they did. They are no match for Gaia.

It seems that for more than 20 years, every single time we sit in the chair and speak of electric power, we tell you that hundreds of thousands of tons of push/pull energy on a regular schedule is available to you. It is moon-driven, forever. It can make all of the electricity for all of the cities on your planet, no matter how much you use. There's no environmental impact at all. Use the power of the tides, the oceans, the waves in clever ways. Use them in a bigger way than any designer has ever put together yet, to power your cities. The largest cities on your planet are on the coasts, and that's where the power source is. Hydro is the answer. It's not dangerous. You've ignored it because it seems harder to engineer and it's not in a controlled environment. Yet, you've chosen to build one of the most complex and dangerous steam engines on Earth - nuclear power.

We also have indicated that all you have to do is dig down deep enough and the planet will give you heat. It's right below the surface, not too far away all the time. You'll have a Gaia steam engine that way, too. There's no danger at all and you don't have to dig that far. All you have to do is heat fluid, and there are some fluids that boil far faster than water. So we say it again and again. Maybe this will show you what's wrong with what you've been doing, and this will turn the attitudes of your science to create something so beautiful and so powerful for your grandchildren. Why do you think you were given the moon? Now you know.

This benevolent Universe gave you an astral body that allows the waters in your ocean to push and pull and push on the most regular schedule of anything you know of. Yet there you sit enjoying just looking at it instead of using it. It could be enormous, free energy forever, ready to be converted when you design the methods of capturing it. It's time. …”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When Planning Mega-Cities, What We Don’t Know is as Crucial as What We Do

Jakarta Globe, Girish Nanda, March 16, 2010

It was none other than Donald Rumsfeld who, in a moment of uncharacteristic clarity while serving as the US secretary of defense in 2002, broke down intelligence gaps into“known knowns” (things we know), “known unknowns” (things we don’t), and “unknown unknowns” (things we don’t know that we don’t know). While he directed his words at the ongoing war in Afghanistan, recognizing what you know and what you don’t is critical in any context.

Urban planning in Asia’s mega-cities is one area where such knowns and unknowns intersect. Things we can know include government policy, regulations, key performance indicators and the modern urban planning goals of sustainability, reduced carbon emissions and urban social equality. Known problems include bureaucracy, corruption and lack of enforcement.

Known unknowns include the questions of how to plan a city that is slum free, and exactly when collapse will ensue when an urban center develops without adequate transportation systems.

Planning also involves unknown unknowns. These are not scenarios involving factors we have yet to contemplate — such as how to respond to a particular flood or earthquake — but unknown gaps in our knowledge. We cannot precisely predict these new problems, but it is certain that they will arise.

Two core components of city planning are long-term planning, often in the form of a master plan, and medium-term planning, often framed in five-year dollops.

The master plan is an assessment of what a city and its supporting structure should be in about two to three decades. Columbia University professor Elliot Sclar aptly describes the two extremes of such plans: At their best, “master plans project positive visions of what a city could be if it was to create an attractive environment for urban existence,” and at their worst they “reduce themselves to architectural fantasies superimposed upon bureaucratically created land-use maps.”

Unfortunately, in terms of the Asian mega-cities experience, we are seeing more of the latter. Medium-term plans are similarly often filled with vague yet technical details intended to be in alignment with the long-term plan, but which in practice are largely steps backward. For many detractors, chiefly car users, this could be the definition of Jakarta’s busway system.

But it is not just transport planning that is a challenge in 21st century Asian mega-cities. These cities already suffer from unresponsive infrastructure, combative sanitation systems and a dearth of clean water that, when combined with elusive livelihood opportunities, add up to a feeling of living in unending, unforgiving and unalterable poverty.

But despite the problems, Asia’s mega-cities will also be the cities facing the highest rates of population growth in the coming decades. There is still no shortage of takers for the wonders of the urban pull. These movements put stress on city administrations which often lack the manpower, expertise and capability to effectively address any of these problems outright.

While city planning ideally should focus on achieving vibrancy, sustainability and liveability for all, these ideals are often constrained by outdated government policies, a lack of policy, funding shortfalls, general bureaucratic hurdles and, sadly, appeasing the interests of competing elites only too happy to skew urban budgets to suit their needs.

For example, in Cairo one gated colony intends to hold 500,000 people and will include hospitals, universities, malls and a water park. Moderating this pattern of exclusive development is no easy matter for city authorities, however, with heavy pressure on them from elites to conform. How to mitigate this inherent conflict of interest might well be an unknown unknown because many authorities would not recognize this as an issue yet, especially as senior members of local authorities tend to live in such “favored” ghettos.

However, as the urban poor are better educated about their rights, and as advocacy groups remind public officials that infrastructure and city services cannot be developed at the behest of market forces alone, access to such resources might become more widespread. Soon, planners and politicians will realize the effect of such public development in increasing life chances and reducing overall costs.

For example, developing full clean water and sanitation coverage in Jakarta, in addition to conserving water resources for the future, could also reduce future costs in the health care sector and also increase labor productivity.

Then there’s the edifying effect of growing up in a green, clean, disease-free city that supports positive life chances rather than trying its best to snuff out any semblance of well-being in the metropolitan life. Of course solving mega-city problems may cost mega-bucks, with bills eventually running into billions of dollars in annual costs for all of Asia’s mega-cities combined. But decisions on whether to spend large sums of money now do not take into account future money saved by their ripple effects, and thus potential long-term benefits have been ignored by urban planners. Reforms in this kind of financing are still moving at an inappropriately slow pace.

The adequacy of planning methodologies used in “traditional” urban areas is being called into question in the 21st century when they are trotted out, unchanged, for use in the latest booming cities. While the changes around the globe brought about by explosive growth and development have had far-reaching effects, have changes in urban planning kept pace? In today’s world, have master plans assisted citizens living in mega-cities or confused them with irrelevant policies and goals? Do master plans actually curb city planners’ natural reactive tendencies?

Jakarta, by the standards of other Asian cities, is still a green city, with parks and mature trees relatively abundant. But spatial plans in all mega-cities need more regular review and even stronger enforcement as competing land-use battles intensify. The spatial plan in Jakarta is reviewed just once every five years, internally by the very government agencies it is meant to guide. More frequent monitoring of the zoning rules may save more trees from wayward developers flouting building and green-zone codes.

One unknown unknown that planners have yet to discover is that transparency and accountability, when applied in the context of megacities, are two key performance indicators in planning that are not the burden that some may perceive. Countries such as China and India have taken steps toward openness, giving citizens the right to information about how they and their cities are governed. Cities have not collapsed as a result. Indeed they are better for it. This is how it should be, because mega-cities are here to stay.

Girish Nanda is a program officer for Strategic Asia, a Jakarta-based consultancy promoting cooperation among Asian countries.

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