Free Novel about sustainability, future living, city design, futuristic technology, community quality of life, and more!
So, it's the year 2024, and Victoria has a story to tell about Eden.
by L. R. R. Perkins
As I lay in my bed and stare out at the sleet falling on the pine trees outside my window, I'm comforted with a down feather blanket and some hot apple cider. While it's nearly freezing outside, I don't even have my heater on inside my condo. I'm a cozy, warm, and sometimes a sassy gal. Hi!
I live in a one bedroom condo in a seven-story "star building" near Eden's center. If you've been here, to the city of Eden, you've seen many of these "star buildings"; they're fairly common. But if you've been in one you'll see their appeal. On the outside they seem solid and majestic, yet quirky. Inside, the units have a warm and exciting feel. They're a hip place to live, and are star shaped.
At seven stories tall, I could take the stairs to all floors without a big load in my arms if the elevator broke. However, I live on the second floor. Years ago I lived high above the trees in a fancy condo complex, on the seventh floor, but now I'm a star resident, as we're sometimes called.
I rarely take the elevator. While the elevator is fast, efficient, and quiet, I like climbing stairs. It's like climbing the obligatory towers across Europe. I've considered getting a condo higher up again, above the trees, but from my existing unit, on the second floor, I can chat with the kids and passers-by below. I see the squirrels leaping from tree branches above and scurrying for seeds on the ground. In Spring I smell a lilac bush from below. Whether you live high or low, you can have privacy and a good view, that's one of the hallmarks of Eden.
The walls of my condo, and every residence across Eden, are super-insulated for noise and climate control. The passive solar design includes glazed or tinted, double or triple-pane windows that open. Even the long thin windows in the bathroom open. There is nothing like the smell of fresh air, the smell of pine, and the lilacs when they're blooming.
The paints, carpeting, and floors in Eden are all non-toxic. When I first bought this unit, new, I walked in and couldn't smell the paint and carpets. It was no big deal for me, but for many people those smells make them sick. Eden is made with non-toxic materials; It's a non-toxic city.
You see, if you didn't already know, Eden is the first "green" city, a livable, sustainable, relatively self-sufficient eco-city. Started in the year 2000, Eden is now 24 years old, and very near completion.
Except for my first three years after birth, and numerous stays overseas for various periods, I've lived here for my full 27 years of life. I've traveled the whole world over and there's a lot of hot, new communities, including the newer, more "advanced" cities designed by daddy, but there's none that compare to the down home feel of Eden. I love it.My name is Victoria Blue; daddy calls me Victory or Yo-Yo. I'm writing about Eden for two main reasons. First, I know the city like the back of my hand. I've been a part of the community for around 24 years. Granted, my viewpoint is strictly my own, and I may not be up to snuff on all the finer points of all the governmental departments, but I should be able to give you a pretty clear overall picture.
Additionally, and this is a big additionally, this account of life in Eden does not have a storyline. There is no plot, no mystery, no suspense. This is simply an account of life in Eden from my personal point of view.
Today, I'm the lead tour conductor for VIPs, the French, and the Japanese. The Japanese - they love me! Here's this saucy, sexy, soulful and sophisticated 27-year-old hot black chick describing the temperature variations from floor to floor of the enclosed inner city and how that allows specific plants to thrive and all these boys want is a guarantee that I'll sing for them at the karaoke bar overlooking the lake at the resort where they're staying.
Usually I'll meet them and sing an Ella Fitzgerald or Morcheeba tune and they'll get all excited and try to cajole me to come back to Tokyo with them. I flirt and tease and get paid for it! I love my job.
I should warn you, I make no attempts to be politically correct or to hide my sinful and saucy ways in this book. I'm full of myself and often hedonistic. However, I have a social conscious and deeply care about people and mother earth. I want to set an example of how to live a fun life with minimal destruction to the planet. I can do this in Eden.
The second reason to write about Eden is because of its unique position in the world of cities. It was first in so many arenas, including advances in education, health care, land use planning, etc. Many of the big environmental policies of this millennium are directly related to initiatives from Eden. I'll tell you all about that soon.
First, I'm gonna tell you about me! I'm 27, five foot five, speak and write fluently in Japanese, French, and Spanish. I'm a black belt in t'ai chi chu'an, and teach my own variation of it two nights per week. I own a black stallion and ride two to four times per week, often taking visitors for a loop. I don't own a car, but have a beryllium and titanium, full suspension, all-terrain bicycle. I also have a mixed metal matrix, utility tricycle. My master's is in communication and languages and I'm an Aquarius. And I'm single!
My name is Victory, Victory Blue,
I live in Eden, Don't you wish you did too?
Come on out and stay a spell,
You'll find our city really swell!
Those are the lyrics to a television commercial I did at seven years old, in the year 2004. In the commercial I was skipping across a field of wildflowers with an animated city skyline in the background as a trolley and bicycler rode by. Eden's information hot lines were swamped for the next two months after five national ads were run concurrently with that old TV show, "Ya'll Come Back."
Daddy was born in New Orleans in 1959, graduated from Berkeley in the 1980's, married mom in 1989, and gave birth to Zelia in 1997. I was also born in 1997, and was adopted in 1999. In 2000 the boys broke ground for Eden. By December of 2000 we were among the first residents, buying the penthouse atop the first star residential building.
Between 2002 and today daddy has helped design and build fifteen land-based cities with populations of more than 20,000, dozens of smaller communities and neighborhood infill sites, one deep ocean hotel, an underwater resort, and two floating communities. He and associates have worked with 20 nations on their eco-regional land use plans. He has given consultation to space community ventures, including the Paolo space city and two orbiting hotels, but he prefers to set examples of sustainable communities on Earth. As he says, "let's get it right at home before messing up somewhere else!" Daddy turns 66 next month; he's a Gemini.
Daddy's interest in community design corresponds to his experiences in uptown N'Awlins as a youth. It was there that he experienced the streetcars, street parades, and pedestrian oriented neighborhoods.
It was there that he learned about architectural styles, energy efficient designs, gardening and romance. Two years of studying and traveling throughout Europe, and two years studying in Hong Kong added depth and variety to his education.
Behind all his learning was a unique goal. He wanted to study as wide a variety of subjects as possible, especially trying to identify the underlying causes of the ongoing problems of our age. He liked relating the big picture to individual lifestyles and aspirations. He wanted to devise exemplary solutions to big problems.
He knew he could and would make a difference in the world. The reason for this relates to his inheritance. Daddy knew that at age 40, the year 1999, he would become a very rich man. The deal was that at age five his grandfather died and left for him a big stock portfolio worth 40 million dollars. The stipulation was that daddy couldn't cash it in until age 40. Needless to say, in that 35 years the money grew and grew, as did daddy's vision of how the money should be spent.
So, since age 16 when he was told of his fortune, daddy has tried to discover how best he could use the money to benefit humanity. In college he started by studying engineering and sociology. He drew parallels between the world of natural laws and human behavior, and designed a degree called social engineering.
In Europe he studied governmental structure and urban transportation systems. In Hong Kong he studied urban planning. It was while in the Orient that he met Matilda. Matilda, my adopted mom, is from Chile, and was acting as an emissary for the Chilean government in Singapore to study their government sponsored home ownership policies.
Mom and dad met during a group tour by the Housing and Development board, the public housing authority in Singapore. Daddy was already dating a Hong Kong gal, and Matilda was engaged to a chap back in Santiago, but, as daddy put it, a magical measure of romance and intrigue instantly caused an unbreakable bond.
Anyway, daddy graduated and in 1995 headed to San Francisco knowing very firmly two things. First, he wanted to design and build the worlds first eco-city. And second, he wanted to marry Matilda.
Matilda left Singapore and reported back to Chile, where she struggled with a wedding cancellation and break up. Her family and friends were aghast at her decisions, including the one to pack her goods and move to San Francisco to marry a man they had never met. Nevertheless, within a month of arriving in California she became Mrs. Don T. B. Blue.
Their first two years were hectic and exciting. Matilda spent a lot of emotional energy trying to gain the love and respect of her friends and family back in Chile. She went back twice the first year to mend relationships.
Daddy was frantically trying to design the first city in a hundred years to not include automobiles. Additionally, he worked tirelessly to get supporters for his city plans. They traveled across the states making contacts and searching for a great location. He wanted three investors to each match his $100 million. Finally, he worked out a deal with Ted Turner.
Ted offered $50 million, plus 5,000 acres (worth around $50 million) of land within a 30,000 acre tract he owned that backs up to national forest. The remaining 25,000 acres would remain undeveloped, as it is today. This location insured that the standard commercial schlock that predominates throughout the states could not get very close to Eden. It's out there, but not too close.
The second investor of $100 million is the EcoEuro Business Partnership, a financial investment group that strictly supports sustainable development projects. They offered wonderful contacts with European and Japanese designers, the media, and public transportation companies.
A third partner with deep pockets backed out of the deal in 1998 after oil and automotive stockholders and associates determined the development was antithetical to their respective industries.
That nearly caused the deal to fold since $400 million up front money was required in the initial contract. Ted, the Europeans, and daddy were so gung-ho on the project that by 1999 they each put up an additional $34 million to get the project off the ground. Ted also added another thousand acres of land to accommodate the final project design. Ground broke in 2000 and the rest is history.
One factor that makes Eden great is that the originally agreed upon design was faithfully adhered to throughout the building stages. That's not to say changes for the better weren't made as new knowledge was gained. But it is to say that important features became a reality, including the preservation of agreed upon open space, the creation of public transit lines, and the "no automobiles" ordinance within the city.
Additionally, energy efficient designs, recycling pantries, and community garden provisions were adhered to by all contractors. Fiber optics made it to every unit, and the cost of housing was, on average, slightly lower than homes within 100 miles of Eden, a remarkable feat given the quality extras in each unit.
The city's greatness is also demonstrable from the economic success, numbers of visitors, conventions, the thousands of positive citations and reviews in publications worldwide, and from the polls showing residents satisfaction.
My personal experience has been so wonderful that I felt compelled to write this book. I'm confident that after reading more details you'll want to visit too. As I sang when I was little:
My name is Victory, Victory Blue,
And I live in Eden, Don't you wish you did too?
Come on out and stay a spell,
You'll find our city really swell!
I'm going to take you on a typical tour of the city as seen by the average convention visitor. We'll start on the highway bordering Eden. Due to the quantity of land preserved by Ted Turner and county officials, one has to drive four miles north and eight miles south from the city borders to reach the next significant residential or commercial developments.
From the highway on the border with Eden there are few visible buildings until you get to the entrance intersection. There, one finds a few typical gas and convenience stores. From the overpass, above the trees, one can see the thirty-story tower in the heart of the downtown.
While the bulk of Eden is to the west of the highway, to the east side of the highway is a 70-house, typical, automobile-based, neo-traditional subdivision. It was developed for contractors and other city workers who absolutely need their automobiles for daily work.
For example, I know one priest who works out of three cities, including Eden. He comes to Eden on Saturday night and Wednesday mornings for mass, and sometimes for weddings. The rest of the time he is in the other two cities. To travel so much it makes sense for him to live where he does.
I know an airline pilot who loves to recreate in Eden but lives outside for easy highway access to the airport. Some government forestry and highway workers live there for the same reason. They don't work in Eden but want its culture and night life. Their jobs demand easy highway access daily, so living in the auto-less bulk of Eden is not convenient.
As one heads west off the highway into Eden itself, there is a large retail and commercial complex on the northwest side of the intersection. Here lies businesses needing easy highway access but wanting to be connected to both the residents of Eden and highway travelers. Included are auto repair facilities, warehousing, public storage facilities, a furniture and appliance big box store, and various production facilities that send and receive deliveries regularly. Additionally, there's a huge used car dealership for residents who recognize they don't need two, or even one, car anymore.
With work, culture, and recreation within the city, and a regular bus service that take residents to nearby towns and the airport, over half the residents have completely sold off their cars. Some families share a single car. There are also two rental car dealers at this site.
More than 95 percent of Eden's residents work in Eden, are retirees, or are students. With 40,000 residents and students, Eden is a relatively self-sufficient, self-contained city. The quality of cultural and tourist attractions are the equivalent of cities with a million residents. It takes a while for most new residents, but eventually they realize that they simply don't need a car. Life if easier and cheaper without cars.
The real benefit is a more relaxed lifestyle. It's hard to really relax for long when you have to get in your car to go to work, get food, visit friends, get recreation, have fun, etc. A pleasurable trip can be horrible if you're stuck in traffic. Traffic makes us overly obsessed with time pressures; it takes away from living in the here and now and fully enjoying life.
On the southwest side of the intersection is the entrance to another smallish, automobile dependent residential section. The quality for these residents is that they have relatively easy access to the light rail loop. Many of these families have a member who must have highway access, while the rest of the family can conveniently go into downtown Eden for work, shopping or school.
Many of our contractors and construction workers bought here so their families could have a safe city to be in while they hit the road for business. Just the other day I met a man who sells industrial chemicals worldwide. He's always out of town but knows his family is in a marvelous community.
Beyond this residential development, and down the road a quarter mile is the city's campground. A large complex of horse stables and rodeo rinks are located at one end of the campground. At this point the road ends.
If you stayed straight on the road past the commercial complex and the residential and campground turn-offs, you would come into the parking area for visitors and residents. Like surface parking lots worldwide, it is one large expanse of asphalt, though ours also has a crushed glass filler and other properties to eliminate heat islands.
The remarkable features here are the trees and bushes between every two rows of cars, the solar powered night lights, a solar intercom that generally plays classical or bluegrass music, and the security cameras so residents can feel their cars are safe from vandals. There are also plenty of kiosks and benches for visitors to sit and put on their skates. Some covered parking and storage facilities also exist.
Residents park in a special section with direct access to the light rail loop. Visitors parking funnels into a large visitor center. There are carts spaced throughout the parking lots for luggage, etc. These carts come in various sizes and may be taken anywhere in the city.
So, for example, if you have a family with six kids and they each have a suitcase, a bicycle, and a dog, they could easily move all those items from the car, through the visitor center, onto the light rail, to the underground transportation hub in the center of the downtown, to an elevator up to street level, onto the trolley, and to the Botanical Resort half a mile up the road on Lake Sedna.
Let's compare that to arrival with a similar sized city, say Boone, North Carolina, or Sebastapol, California, both around 35,000 today. In those cities one hits red light after red light, sees commercial strips on the edges of town, a traffic congested downtown with pedestrians confined to square blocks with sidewalks bordered with franchise shops on one side, and parked cars on the other. It's sooo primitive and inhumane!
Your computer navigational system in your car might be working, might list the hotel you want, but probably won't tell you about cheaper accommodation options or which streets to use to avoid the traffic. Then you find your hotel, park and work out your payment, move your car nearer your room, and carry your luggage to your room. Your room is likely to be a sterile little square with a view of the parking lot.
To get from your hotel to the quaint old sections of the city you'll probably have to drive downtown and hope for a parking space. Groups must stay together or arrange to meet at the car at a given time. If parents want to stroll the old section and have a candlelight dinner while little Johnny and Suzie want to go the roller skating rink or movies on the edge of town, further complications emerge. If you're too tired to drive any more, you'll sit in bed and watch TV while the teriyaki delivery service brings you food. Johnny and Suzie will bicker. That's life outside Eden!
So, let's pretend you are entering the visitor center of Eden, with family, bikes, and dogs in tow. You're there for a convention on light rail maintenance. Your hotel is in the city center. You have a few options. First, you can take the carts and roll them on the light rail and cruise into the city center, then push or ride the carts to your hotel lobby in the city center. Most carts have little motors for easy movement.
Option two, you hire an electric taxi to take you and stuff to your destination. This is an expensive option. The number of taxis is limited and they pay a special fee to operate them. Nevertheless, if money is no problem or you're in a big hurry, it is a convenient option.
Option three is to drop off items with a delivery service in the visitor center. Whatever the size of goods, they can get them securely delivered to your hotel or other destination very quickly, often beating you to the destination, though occasionally taking up to three hours during busy or low staff periods. Rush service is usually available during such times for an additional fee.
A fourth option is to use lockers in the visitor center if one wanted to ride bikes for a while, return them to lockers or the car, then come back for luggage and the trip to the hotel later. Other options include getting a hotel next to the visitor center or staying at the campground.
In the visitor center all the options are outlined. Taxis are outside the side doors. The light rail is straight ahead. The delivery service has a big counter.
In our example with the kids and dogs, the delivery service is selected since there are some big packages for the conference. The family puts all their belongings, minus dogs, bikes and fanny packs, in an appropriately sized container with wheels. It is covered and locked. The family receives a key. The cart is either pulled by an electric utility vehicle, or, placed on the light rail and sent to its destination.
In Eden humans move the luggage racks. In newer cities an automated baggage delivery system moves packages to their destination with minimal human involvement. Eden's package delivery workers wear special blue and white uniforms and regularly respond that they like their jobs. They have a fair amount of autonomy, get decent wages and tips.
After detailing the destination and paying, the family visits the financial/security counter. Here they can get credit card/security identification cards with their photos. I'll explain about these in detail later.
An advance check-in system for accommodations is in the visitor center. Here you can inquire, reserve, and/or pay for hotels, bed and breakfasts, hospices, health clinics, home stays, apartments, the campground or individual residents' spare bedrooms if they're available. Payment, keys, and a location map can be picked up here. The kids are almost ready to take off safely on their own. In the visitor center are easy to follow maps with hotels and attractions listed. The three oldest kids, aged ten to sixteen, are allowed to take bike trails on their own to the hotel. First they walk their bikes through a moving hallway that details the need for bikers to obey signs and rules, such as giving the right of way to pedestrians and horses. The parents, the youngest child, aged six, his bike, and the old, slow dogs go with the parents to the light rail.
The quantity and frequency of light rail are determined by the time of day, frequency of computer generated ride requests, and other demand factors. You're not likely to wait for a light rail unit more than three minutes between 6am and 1am, and probably only a minute during regular hours. They are plentiful, frequent, and convenient. Empty ones are often lined up and ready to go from popular destinations.
The light rail has sliding doors, with a floor at the same level as the station platform, a convenience for carts, bikes, and wheelchairs. There is plenty of room for carts on the light rail, but also comfortable seats.
As the parents leave the visitor center on the rail, they notice single family homes hidden in the woods, with the occasional bike or horse crossing, and a few multistory residential units. A large senior complex with an acre of rose gardens stands out proudly. Many of the community gardens back up to the light rail track corridor. The trails, fences, outbuildings and homes are all tastefully landscaped.
After a few minutes the rail heads around a bend and into a clearing where the few high risers of the downtown become visible. As the rail car gets closer to the city the density goes up. Townhouses, condos, and apartment buildings become more prevalent. More bikes, strollers, and kids playing in fields become visible. Despite increased density, trails, green ways and pocket parks are interspersed throughout the residential units.
At the moment of greatest congestion, with busy parks, business people, shops and restaurants visible, the light rail heads underground. A variety of residences and commercial buildings have been visible the whole route, with modern, art deco, colonial, Victorian, baroque and other architectural styles.
From the air you can see that the light rail makes a clover leaf shape. The center of the 6,000 acres contains the vibrant, downtown of the city. The light rail goes underground just outside the center to avoid heavily congested people zones. This is the transportation cross road - the center of town.
In our example, the parents hotel is just above the underground transportation hub, on the city center square. The family disembark from the light rail at the city center, the fifth platform stop on the line so far They head down a corridor to an elevator that takes them to the hotel lobby four stories above. They could have taken escalators up to the green city square directly above, but they wanted to check into their room first.
The couple rises by elevator up to floor 15, facing east toward the little city square, the university and the amphitheater. The room is a suite with two bedrooms and fold-out sofas, enough to accommodate four kids. Much to the amazement of many visitors, this hotel is dog friendly.
The kids take bike paths from the parking area to the city center, passing parks, public space, private gardens, and the canal, the beautiful canal. The bike paths wind past quaint homes, residences with community gardens, and a few fenced-in wildlife parks.
Rather than have a zoo, which are often depressing and smelly places, Eden has some carefully landscaped and fenced parks with zebras or Hampshire lambs or whichever animals zoos have an abundance of and are willing to give away. Mom joked that we got the animals that screwed too much in captivity!
The kids finally arrive at the city center and check their bikes at the hotel bike parking facilities and join their parents in their suite. From here the family goes down to the lobby together, and heads down the escalator to the city center square. The open center is approximately 5000 square feet. The sky is straight above. The retractable plexiglass roof above is open for fresh air. It closes during times of very hot, cold, or inclement weather.
A sidewalk surrounds the square and an assortment of shops and cafes with outdoor seating line the edges. The center contains a fountain, plenty of benches, and is surrounded by medium sized ornamental trees. An acoustic amphitheater is at the southern end of the square. Within the cross sidewalks are grassy areas and a few flowering bushes.
Looking up at the second floor one sees restaurant tables behind iron railings, a conference room often filled with activity, floor to ceiling windows disclosing exercisers in a gym, little children at a day care center, sculptures from a museum, the lobby of the hotel, and a few miscellaneous balconies where the public can overlook the square. Most of the inner city buildings sport a pleasant granite and marble facade, mixed with the iron railings and some metal trim and structural work. The sidewalks are brick. Stairs and an elevator are at the northern end of the square, a little ways out from the building itself. They lead up to a catwalk, and down to the light rail hub. Streams of people arrive and depart from this location all day long. The central square bustles with activity.
Many corridors in the middle and end of the square lead to the inner mall. The mall makes a square and has a sunroof above the walking area. Shops and services line both sides of the mall as you walk through it. After the shops close, the passageways are still open leading from the city square out to the surrounding street, but the corridors to the shops in the mall are closed off.
Various stairways, escalators, and elevators lead from the first to the second floor, where another encirclement of shops and services, including financial institutions, a movie theater, a virtual arcade, and the museum are located. Above the second floor are a variety of offices rising upwards of thirty stories high. These include, government administration, private offices, clinics, the hotel, media facilities, a nursing school, VIP studios, and various public and private decks with spectacular views.
A family has many options at this point. The city center has restaurants and shops. The mall is worth a loop. Various facilities rise upwards. The nearest horse stables are less than two blocks away.
Heading north through the mall and across the street is the artist colony. Beyond that are the wonderful Thai and Italian neighborhoods. To the east are the University, various other schools, and beyond that, a sculpture garden and various recreational facilities. To the north east is a seminary, church, and public orchard.
To the west is a large senior housing complex with carefully maintained gardens, a professional theater and opera house, and office buildings. Beyond that are townhouses and some star apartment buildings.
Directly south, one walks out into a large public arena with a spectacular view of our reflecting pool. To one side is a grocery, and to the other an east coast style market filled with permanent and temporary vendors. Here you can buy fresh produce, cheese, meats, fish, bake goods, flowers, handicrafts, etc.
As you walk directly south from the city center, through the mall, across the street, past the market and the grocery, you would eventually walk directly into the 600-foot long reflection pool, which is attached to the 100-acre lake. The lake makes an "L" shape.
The land surrounding the lake is completely open to the public, except a restricted stretch of wetlands that a raised walkway cuts across. I'm amazed as I travel the world to see absolutely remarkable pieces of property adjacent to a lake or ocean, and they are privately owned. All along New Jersey one finds privately owned land on the beach.
People must pay to park in a public parking lot, and sometimes even pay to get to the beach. This land should be open to the public. The most scenic lands in the US, just like our national parks, should be owned by the people.
Well, at any rate, you can stroll or bike all the way around Lake Sedna, named after the Eskimo sea goddess. Generally, there's at least a hundred feet of public land from the water edge, but near the resorts and botanical garden it is simply a wide sidewalk and bike path. There's also a small yacht club. All boats are electric.
As you stand in front of the reflection pool, the view all around is a spectacular site. The water is gorgeous. The view to the west is of a church, the start of a row of resorts that parallels the water line, and the start of some of the more elaborate garden walks throughout the city. To the east is the large amphitheater where national and international acts regularly play.
Turning around from the reflection pool and looking north, back at the city center, is an awesome view of architecture and people. On the roof of the second floor of the malls south section is a large deck with plenty of people looking toward the water. To the side and behind them are various layers of buildings, peaking at 30 stories. The architecture is filled with decks, some open air and some enclosed in glass. Palms in large pots and cascading plants in hanging baskets are identifiable. From any clear spot around the city, the city center serves as a compass point and a visually exciting focus.
From outside of the city property, especially up on a hill in the preserved forest land, the city looks warm and exciting. It's not too big, but the dense concentration of buildings offers a dynamic skyline in what is otherwise a fairly uninterrupted carpet of trees.
You can see the growth boundaries of Eden. At night its lights have a finite end. With most modern cities the lights stretch for miles in a low density manner. Eden is more compact, therefore allowing more preserved natural land around it. This is good for wildlife and recreational possibilities. This is where the horse back riding gets very pleasant.
So, while standing in the large public, open area next to the reflection pool and city center, one can't help but feel that this is a great city. There are plenty of people, some busy, some relaxing, some shopping, some watching other people. There are trees, benches, flowing shrubs, a majestic reflection pool surrounded by stylish resorts and public parklands that seem to weave themselves throughout the city.
Just outside of the enclosed market is an area reserved daily for our farmers and flea market. People rent tables for the day and sell their extra strawberries or handmade pottery, baseball cards and home made brownies. On the first floor corner of the university block is a large student run co-op, selling everything from fruit juices to text books. Across the street from that, in front of the amphitheater, is a little island surrounded by a moat, with some strange species of monkeys with red faces.
The monkey island is the smallest outdoor wildlife park. Elsewhere they are two to thirty acres. We don't have any cute pandas or polar bears, animals that are picky about breeding in zoos, but we have plenty enough critters to entertain visitors and residents alike.
Most of the wildlife parks tend to be near the lake or along the canal. Did I mention the canal? We have a two and a half mile long scenic canal that stretches out from the lake, around the city center making a semicircle, and ending up on the other side of the lake. During the day canoes race its length, and at night, gondolas meander through the canal offering people a unique vision of the city.
As I was saying, the individual animal sanctuaries generally are larger than most zoos, have fewer animals per acre, and have some thick vegetation and other barriers so residents won't smell their odors. Connected to the preserved wetlands on the far end of the lake is a wildlife rehabilitation area, a clinic to help deformed or injured animals.
If a car hits an animal on the highway outside Eden, the animal control folks often bring the animal to us for treatment. We also get animals that people have harbored legally or illegally in their homes. One year we received four racoons from a resident of a nearby city. Regularly we receive large reptiles, enough that we opened a reptile garden in 2012. Separately, in one of the resorts, is a rainforest and aquarium exhibit.
Currently we have a lion that someone from Chicago had been raising in his inner city penthouse. Finally the cat became too much for the owner. It was getting too little exercise, except, as he related, on his fine imported draperies. We have the big feline at the rehabilitation center in its own five-acre pen. Our animals provide interesting eye candy when taking a bike ride or stroll. All told, we have quite an array of fascinating animals for residents and visitors to learn from and gawk at. I love gawking!
MORE THAN BUILDINGS AND ROADS
While in high school, daddy started writing down excerpts from books and cutting out newspaper articles. He thought that these would aide in the writing of school papers. So often we read articles and do nothing with the knowledge. It soon gets forgotten.
By the time daddy entered Berkeley he had collected a large box full of clippings, articles and personally written summaries of books. Throughout college he was heavily into reading everything he got his hands on. He would examine the hundreds of periodicals in the college library.
Daddy was an information geek, very disciplined no doubt, but nonetheless a geek. He would wander through the stacks of books in search of nothing in particular, but for a nugget of wisdom in general.
By his second year of college he had so many articles that he wanted to organize them. He wanted a cognitive filing system so he could easily find old and store new articles. He wanted it to be logical yet succinct.
He wanted a categorization system that related to human needs. Many friends and scholarly analysts would say daddy's attempt to organize information is his biggest intellectual contribution to society. Others discount it because religion is not a major category, but a subcategory under liberties. Anyway, it is what it is and has been enormously helpful in Eden and elsewhere.
For a period during the 1990s and the early years of this millennium the United States focused so intently on how to use computers to organize information that they lost sight of the social implications of information management. People associated information management with computer hardware and software, and forgot about the importance of the content itself.
Daddy wanted to find the common criterion that relates to the well-being of individuals, families, the state, nation and world. He wanted to relate the needs of humans from birth till death, and from the individual to the social organizations outside of themselves, including the family, neighborhood, business associations, and various levels of governments.
He wanted information to be organized so it related to the real needs of living organisms. I think his real objective was to organize a growing stack of articles. He probably had a roommate or girlfriend that told him to clean up his mess!
At any rate, he needed to create categories to file articles on education, foreign policy, etc. He was collecting nearly any article regarding important social issues. He loves statistics, reports of court cases, significant legislation, scientific breakthroughs, etc.
You might have a difficult time understanding the importance of this today. I mean, today you simply ask your home computer for information on any issues and it's so easy to attain reports. Though enjoyable, we could actually eliminate physical libraries today; back last century you had to go to a library to get materials and research.
Dad wasn't looking for information on any singular issue; he wanted to know what the issues were, what the media reported, what books said, and what was ignored. The random process of wandering through library aisles allowed this.
A big discovery was the lack of a satisfactory indexing system that systematically connected the issues of the day to human existence. In other words, he found existing indexes to be inadequate and inconsistent.
He examined the indexing/categorization methods of libraries, think tanks, weekly news magazines and the like. For example, the weekly National Journal identified 27 major categories in their Dec. 1988 Cumulative Index, arranged alphabetically from Budget to Urban Affairs.
The 1993 index of Bottom Line newsletter listed 19 very different categories, from Auto to Travel. None of the categories of any of these organizations were irrelevant. But none of the indexes systematically related to the stages and needs of life. The category choices seemed rather random, based on the current trends of governmental and media focus, and arranged alphabetically. They weren't logical or succinct.
With time daddy surveyed the United Nations' Basic Human Needs list, Seattle's Sustainable City Project's "sustainability indicators," and various other quality of life and common agenda lists of issues and needs. He studied the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, the objectives and documents of the French Revolution and the Native American Indians.
Daddy would compare his collection of clippings with the categories that the media would use to survey politicians. He found that many issues were completely ignored. Issue importance would fade and come back again with vigor. One year crime would be biggest in a community. The next year it would be traffic congestion.
You had the tail leading the dog with respect to what was popular in the press. Politicians would make an issue out of nothing and ignore a dire human need. For many institutions there are no guiding principles to help with mission and policy formulation other than the profit motive. Sadly, this motive alone is pursued too vigorously worldwide, regardless of environmental or human suffering. Daddy wanted a more compassionate window of perception, a more holistic indexing method.
Which issues and events are presented to the public, or not presented, is very important in ensuring an informed citizenry, and an informed citizenry is necessary for a democracy to thrive. Daddy believed that a failure to investigate and alert the public of particular issues has been very costly in terms of environmental degradation, financial loss, and human suffering.
After considerable research and analysis, daddy came up with eight major issues, and around 700 subcategories of issues that we need to be aware of to ensure our democracy will thrive in a civil manner. In a speech he gave at a Washington, D.C. sustainability conference on New Year's Eve, 2005, he summarized his basic human dignity needs categorization system:
"Let me put some views in a nutshell. We're born, we grow and learn, and try to survive with minimal distress, and maximum inner contentment. We want to live with a sense of comfort and dignity.
From birth, we all need good health, both physical and mental. A healthy environment, including sustainable food, energy and resource management is also necessary. We need security and liberties, with a satisfactory system of justice.
We need a useful education to be marketable, and media networks to facilitate the democratic process. People make a livelihood through work, yet a social service and welfare network is also necessary. A respectful and efficient government is necessary to promote the common well being and to regulate harmful extremes in life.
We need sustainable land use planning, including adequate housing and transportation options. And we need honorable intergovernmental and international affairs.
These eight categories, health, environment, security and liberties, education and the media, work and welfare, governmental operations, land use planning, and international affairs, are the categories we use in school curriculum, governmental departments, and daily media summaries in Eden. It works because the categories directly relate to the needs of all residents. We systematically try to identify, monitor and respond to the needs and aspirations of residents; we don't just respond to problems.
Some media reporters have called it compassionate, preventive social engineering. I call it common sense. It is far safer for me and those I care about if I know people elsewhere are healthy, educated, and capable of satisfactorily making a living.
If anyone is suffering anywhere, there's a chance they will commit desperate acts that will threaten me and other innocent people. Therefore, it is best to promote the attainment of common needs for everyone, without prejudice. The above defined basic human dignity needs are meant to relate to the content survival needs of all people. It's a succinct yet comprehensive social indicator list for healthy survival."
The questions for daddy were, if the issues and divisions chosen by the government, educational institutions, and the media are not based on issues relating to our satisfactory survival, what are they based on? How does the media decide what to present and what to leave out? Are sensationalism, political favoritism and money making prospects the most important criteria for issue presentation? These questions have to do with the moral fiber of our society and our raison d'etre.
Below is the diagram he showed on an overhead monitor.
QUALITY OF LIFE TOOLS
In 2005, I turned eight years old, had been living in Eden since its inception five years earlier, and was having a ball with my bike and skates. Life for a child in Eden can be heavenly. There is so much to do without the fears typical of most cities. Being auto-less makes a huge difference. Auto accidents are the number one cause of deaths among children in the US, but not in Eden. Parents fear children playing in the streets, but not so much in Eden.
Dad, throughout my childhood, was often traveling and coming back with great news about new developments. Mom was busy with the city government. I was immersed in self-paced education, enormous intellectual stimulation, and an outdoor urban masterpiece to explore. Zelia, my sister, was immersed in piano lessons, ballet, and socializing with tons of friends.
As America and the developed world entered this new millennium, it became more and more clear that we were experiencing an information overload. No one could keep up with all the important and interesting news of the day.
Daddy's holistic index serves as a tool to identify, classify, and prioritize issues. Under the eight major categories of issues are around 700 subcategories. When one looks at all the problems of any given age, this big index can help one see any single issue within a much larger context of all the important issues that we must deal with.
I've tried to write this book around the eight big issues, but I'm so easily distracted. And the interconnections of issues makes it difficult to always be so anal, I mean, focused. Still, it is important to identify specific problems within the frame of the big picture of life in an organized manner. The interconnections of issues, and, the underlying, root causes of widespread problems can than be identified.
The index also serves as a structure to devise educational curriculum. It's like hey, if these are the critical categories of issues, if this index is succinct and comprehensive, than our educational focus should include these issues.
The same applies to the government. If this index is an effective tool to understand the problems of our time, than the government should have divisions paralleling these categories. Government efficiency is related to its divisions, resources, and directives. Last century the Federal government was littered with divisions that overlapped others or that were simply nonsensical.
Take the Department of the Interior. What does it mean? Do they inspect interior designs? In fact, last century, and into this century the Federal government had such a department with nearly 100,000 employees. It wasn't untill the year 2007 that Congress passed the "restructuring," or "renaming" bill, as part of a government anti-obfuscation campaign.
The bill required that names of government divisions must make sense to the common citizenry, and their names must relate to their tasks. People can understand what the Environmental Protection Agency does from the name; people couldn't understand what the Merit Systems Protection Board did, so it was renamed the Fraud and Abuse Board. Additionally, the bill specified that the bulk of agency funding must go to the specified tasks, not to administration.
Daddy has written and argued for nearly thirty years that the Federal government is badly in need of restructuring. Progress has been made but some departments simply won't go away even though redundant or obsolete. Politicians fight hard to preserve their pet projects and departments.
Daddy was one of the first pundits this century to advocate a whole new Constitution for the U.S., a controversial item to this day. At the time, the idea was irreverent to a majority of Americans. Today, it is a given that by the end of this decade we will have a new Constitution.
It takes a long time, but eventually people will come around to a new idea if it is superior to an inadequate or obsolete status quo. When daddy would argue for new land use planning guidelines and cities without automobiles, he knew he was swimming against the current. But the old suburban and ex-urban models of existence were becoming unsustainable and totally frustrating for growing ranks of citizens.
Of course, today, all states have sustainability guidelines for land use. Many of them include the exact wording that daddy used for Eden at its inception. Specifically, the guidelines state the following:
"Certain lands should never be paved over, including:
Eden, of course, is surrounded by preserved land - 25,000 acres of Ted's land and tens of thousands of acres of national forest. This serves as both a greenbelt and land for wildlife. It also has some bumping hot mountain bike and horse trails. Some trails are one directional to deter high speed accidents. Zeno, my stallion, and I sometimes go into the forest and don't come back till the next evening. Mother nature offers so much for exploration.
So many people today can enjoy nature thanks to the Regional Land Preservation bill passed by Congress in 2009 that was a hard won battle waged by thousands of organizations and millions of individuals. The Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy and The Wilderness Society are amongst the big designers of the national legislation. Daddy helped write the bill.
I know it's bold, but I'm not the only one who considers this legislation to be the equivalent of one of the Bill of Rights. In fact, many people wanted it to be added there, as opposed to simple legislation. The result was the same in the end, all states are to make long-range sustainability plans that includes regional land use planning, including addressing such issues as: long-range carrying capacity of regions, such as water and transportation needs; preserving prime farmland; preserving unique wildlife areas and endangered species wildlife corridors; and the preservation of unique areas of scenic beauty.
Fierce opposition came from land holders and speculators who believed that they could own land and do whatever they wanted with it, regardless of the overall common good. They were defeated as were gun lobbyists who insisted that the Second Amendment meant they could own any type weapon or bullet.
The reason for coming together as an organized civilization is to gain security and conveniences. The price of that security is that some impulses and freedoms must be restricted for the common good. Sometimes you have to give up your land, but never without reasonable compensation. That's the law.
Daddy used his holistic index as the basis of the governmental departments of Eden. It serves as the curriculum base for the educational program. And the city-run media presents issues within the context of the eight major major categories. Here's how it works.
Daddy knew that at age 40 he was going to inherit mega-bucks. Throughout his adult life he was thinking of how he could use that money to make the world a better place. Through his research he determined that many of the ongoing problems of the twentieth century were related to land use planning, or lack of good planning.
The prevalence of piece meal planning by the myriad of governmental departments and private interests resulted in segregated, unsustainable and unsafe communities. Crime, poverty, racism, unemployment, feelings of alienation and fear are directly related to the structures, physical and social, within a community. Some people try to escape this by moving to gated communities. In my mind such an exclusive existence is tantamount to giving up on the possibility of raising the civility of your surrounding communities.
Daddy convinced Ted Turner and the European investors that the city must be thought of in total. Rather than primarily concentrating on infrastructure issues - roads, lot sizes, sewage, and token open space - daddy insisted new communities must be thought of holistically, to include conceptualizing organizations relating to health, security, and education.
"Look at the city as a whole organism," daddy taught me the one time he coached me as the city's tour guide, or ambassador to Eden, as he would proudly call my position. When people think of their favorite cities in the world, Prague, Amsterdam, Barcelona, they usually speak of the pedestrian oriented areas and the architecture. That and the natural space are one of the favorite attributes that visitors of Eden speak about.
But behind the purely physical structure is a web of organizations and institutions that build economic viability, safety, intelligence, and culture into our city. Private citizens, businesses, the government and social organizations work well together because of the logical structure and focus on the issues of health, environment, security and liberties, educational issues, etc.
One goal of Eden was to be relatively self-sufficient with respect to energy, employment, food, etc. In the area of food we reached that goal within the first five years. This does not mean that we don't import foods. Rather, it means that we produce enough food that we don't need to import food from outside. We import for variety and luxeries.
If Eden were an isolated island, it could produce enough food to meet residents needs. We wouldn't have as much meat, coffee and chocolate as people are used to, but we could satisfy nutritional requirements with a tasty diet. The carrying capacity of the land supports the population of Eden.
Similarly, we produce so much energy that we sell our excess to outside energy brokers most months of the year. We have adequate jobs for our residents. We have cultural activities daily, often all day long. Since we are not an isolated island, we invite outside performers and teachers to Eden, and many of our artists and performers travel the world.
Another goal of Eden, one behind the basic human dignity needs index, relates to the firm promotion of opportunities and services to all residents; this is a way to express compassionate sustainability. Not to get too fancy with terms like basic human dignity needs and compassionate sustainability, but the idea is, treat everyone right.
We promote the best in all individuals by helping them to get a positive start in life and to attain the skills necessary to live with dignity. By expressing opportunities for good health in our designs, we promote compassionate sustainability.
There are identifiable reasons why we have during three of the past ten years had the highest high school graduation rate of any city in the U.S. and why we have a proportionately high number of successful musicians, artists, engineers, and, according to polls, very happy people.
Contrary to rumors of yore, we don't add any happy dust in the public water supply. Some of us do this in our own homes, but we inform guests beforehand. What we have is a grand plan based on common sense. We have an aesthetically pleasing and fun physical design with inclusive private and public organizations committed to quality of life for all residents. And, we have no automobiles. For the turn of the century this was quite a concept.
In the year 1999, nearly 100 percent of Americans couldn't have imagined a modern, safe, economically viable, and enjoyable city could exist without automobiles. By the year 2003 nearly every American had heard of Eden, the super cool new city with no automobiles.
At any rate, a city is great only if all the divisions make sense and operate responsibly and efficiently. An education is most useful if what's taught relates to real life needs and aspirations. Schools must be relevant to life. I don't need to know the Latin name for trout. I do need to know how to clearly communicate in a pleasant and informative manner.
Eden is great because it was the first large scale development of the last 100 years that was designed with efficient technology related to human aspirations and sustainable principles. The eight basic human dignity needs form the backbone of what people need to satisfactorily survive. Our first need, at birth, is the conditions promotive of good physical and mental health.
Generally developers and even New Urbanist or neo-traditional proponents, would come together and discuss physical structure when considering new developments. They consider roads, utilities, density of houses, setbacks for houses, square footage, lot and road size, etc.
Daddy suggested they first start with health, with the health of the individual, the neighborhood, the whole city, from young to very old, rich and poor, all races, male and female. Daddy asked, "Who is this new city going to be for, and how shall different residents be treated?"
The answer he wanted, and pushed upon his associates was, "we want a city for all the residents, with no discrimination." We want an inclusive community, a compassionate and nondiscriminatory charter, where people have a convenient means to participate in their well-being and related decision making. We want entrepreneurs, minorities, the elderly and teenagers to not just feel at home, but to be proud of where they live.
One can reason that a satisfying life depends on one's health. Good health makes good sense! Therefore, from a philosophical and practical point of view we need to understand the health needs of the individual, the family, neighborhood, businesses, private institutions, and government.
Daddy started with the poorest, sickliest resident and asked what roles different residents have. Then he asked what the wealthiest, healthiest resident expects. The poor, sick person is most in need of help from others. The healthy, rich person could do without public assistance all together in our modern, free market world.
A big question relates to how much tax should residents pay for what services? Should residents afford the latest telemedicine X-ray transmitter? Should we have an alcoholics hotline? Is the latest lithotripter device worth $250,000?
These are the questions that we put to a vote. We have a large degree of direct democracy in Eden. When it comes to the expenditure of monies, or the restriction of liberties, outside of what is clear through the city charter or court clarification, it must be put to a vote.
In general, we have a very preventive health program. The city lends itself to exercise, an excellent preventative remedy to heart disease, obesity, cancer, and so many other ailments. The layout of Eden forces people to do some walking. You walk to the trolley or all the way to your destination. At three miles by three miles, the city is not that large when walking from point A to point B. By design, 95% of the residences and businesses are within a two-block walk of the light rail or trolley.
The city is aesthetically beautiful, so walking or in-line skating is very enjoyable in nearly any weather but rain, snow or high winds. The roads are smooth for strollers and blades, and the lack of automobile traffic reduces wear and tear on the roads and paths.
It is easy to get around while exercising. The streets are made for people. You feel good walking around the neighborhoods. In most suburbs walkers stand out like a sore thumb. You feel like a second class citizen standing at a bus stop while cars fly by at 40 mph.
In Eden the landscaping of individual and the public spaces are usually very pleasing to see. It feels good and natural to walk places. Many yards mimic Japanese or British garden designs.
The neighborhoods are usually quiet and so safe without cars. Granted, certain birds, dogs, and crying kids can disrupt the peace, but that doesn't last long. We have strict regulations on out of control barking dogs, and most muts have control collars.
Outside Eden, throughout the world, people live with the sounds of traffic 24 hours per day. There's noise pollution everywhere. Horns, sirens, revving motorcycle engines, busted mufflers and screechy breaks prevent peace and quiet. This affects people's character and disposition.
Too much noise is distressful. City people often go to public campgrounds hoping to experience nature and the campers next to them will bring their portable stereos and blast noise all day long. It's difficult to get away from artificial sounds. I know that after I've left Eden, I'm usually quite happy when I return. Granted, I'll turn on some Nat King Cole music as soon as I get home, but this is my choice at my selected volume. And I'll eventually turn it off and sit on my porch and listen to the birds and children playing.
Of course, not all of Eden is quiet. The city core has the sounds of people shopping and chatting. The amphitheater often has performers whose music spreads for blocks around. The markets are boisterous. Some of the wildlife parks have gawking animals. Geese and blue jays make quite a ruckus. And people purposely sit on benches outside the music school to hear students practice. The sounds pour out into the street and bounce off the buildings with an echo. These are awesome sounds.
Then there are the festivals and parades that regularly make quite a ruckus. These are healthy occasions for residents to get their ya-yas out. People dress up, ride floats and horses, bicycle with or stand on the side and watch our numerous parades. We have about one parade a month.
We view health from a physical and psychological perspective. A healthy environment is not just the lack of pollution, but it's the availability of healthful and fun activities. Other than the inner core, kids can skateboard and bike throughout Eden. Wheelchairs can meander through green ways and garden areas. Fifty miles of separated horse and mountain bike trails exist within the 6,000 acres of Eden, and far more than that exist outside the borders on Ted's land and in the national forest.
So, besides bike trails going everywhere and all roads are smooth for skates and carriages, there is a foot trail encircling Lake Sedna. This is delightful to walk or bike around. The Lake Sedna trail passes numerous beaches and crosses the wildlife preserves. There are three towers to climb along this trail to get a panoramic view of the city and lake.
On the outskirts of town are the 12 miles of separated mountain bike and horse paths that loop around the city's greenbelt. Meandering through the woods on parts of that loop on Zeno, my stallion, is a grand way to get exercise. Having separated trails for horses and mountain bikes is very valuable in preventing the spooking of horses.
Daddy's second city of nearly this size, Nabu, up in the mountains, doesn't have the same circular shape, but it backs up to a mountain, and a tram takes people up to the top for recreation and exploration. People living within proximity of large natural areas can always explore. Exploring is one of the best features to life; that's my motto.
The Regional Land Preservation Bill ensures large hunks of accessible land for future generations, but for all the communities built between 1900 and 2010, most are just nowheresville. There's nothing to them but ticky tacky homogeneous, alienating boxes and cold corridors for cars. There's no feeling. There's no love, no compassion, no soul, no future. You need to walk around the Left Bank of Paris, or Royal Street in New Orleans to feel compassion in a city. Or come to Eden!
An enclosed box and a TV,
That's no life for me,
I want the big outdoors,
Yeah, that's the place for me.
I love the maples and willows,
I love the squirrels and bees,
Don't want no imitation,
When it comes to cheese.
Put my automobile away from,
Where the people live and walk,
When you come to live in Eden,
It's easy to walk the talk.
Besides the built in exercise potential, the numerous sports facilities, the two and a half mile scenic canal with attached walking, biking, and in some stretches, horse paths, all residents also have access to a space in a convenient community garden plot. In other words, if you live anywhere legally in Eden, including the smallest apartment or yurt, you can get a 10' X 10' or larger garden plot, usually in community gardens on your residential property.
Growing fresh vegetables is a healthy habit for the young and old. It gives one an opportunity to see and chat with neighbors (e.g., "Nice melons Marge!" "Oh thanks, I really like the size of your zucchini, Don."), and, offers residents the possibility of cucumbers without wax, tomatoes picked ripe, and the sweetest raspberries when in season.
Our home gardening activities are one part of the ecological crusade to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We're reducing our need for food deliveries by more than 50 percent compared to the average American city. The combination of exercise and healthy eating habits helps us reduce the proportional number of residents who die of diseases of the heart and blood vessels, the number one cause of deaths in the U.S.
Exercising through daily transportation and gardening activities comes naturally. We have health spas, but I only use them for the mat and punching bags at the gym for my Oriental arts class. I get too much fun exercising on my bike or through riding Zeno. Besides, I get plenty of walking when giving tours. I'll wear people out if they take a full day or multi-day tour.
Heck, honey, I wore myself out last week. I had a group of Italian businessmen. Now, I really don't know Italian, and they kept jiving with me, talking that sexy Italian and giving me big smiles. Two of the younger, more macho men came to see me teach t'ai chi chu'an the night after their tour. Then I met others around midnight to see an adult action show. Lordy, that was a long day!
The biggest health resource of Eden is, of course, the people and businesses that moved here. They are what make Eden extra great! This is how daddy and associates did it.
Toward the end of 1999, Eden Development Planners placed a full page advertisement in USA Weekend, Parade, and Mother Earth News. The ad started:
WANTED: BUSINESSES WISHING TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE, TO RELOCATE IN A COMMUNITY WHERE IT IS EASY TO WALK THE WALK AND TALK THE TALK WITH RESPECT TO A HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE AND SUSTAINABILITY FOR OURSELVES AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.
The ad then listed the types of businesses Eden desired, such as non-polluting and natural product manufacturers, educational and research organizations, music schools, artisans, musicians, transportation engineers, organic retail businesses, utility bicycle manufacturers, alternative energy designers, and a few dozen other "green" and culturally exciting businesses.
The ad ended with the words: "We're creating a sustainable, livable, eco-city from scratch, we're setting an example for a better world for our children. Who wants to join us?"
Needless to say, the response was enormous. Our web site was receiving hundreds of thousands of visits each month. Our phones never stopped ringing. Ted Turner and the European associates were swamped with interview requests for months. At ground breaking a few months later, traffic cops were employed to control visitor traffic. It was a mild media frenzy! I was three years old and had just received my first Barbie.
The employers that want to relocate in Eden generally have a health conscious attitude. They seek a healthier lifestyle than an automobile dependent, couch potato existence can offer. They want to enjoy their bodies and their communities in a positive manner.
We want to dance,
we want to sing,
we like to eat,
More healthy things.
All right, excuse my little poetic excursions and just be happy you're not right next to me listening to my lilt. However, my cat doesn't seem to mind. You should hear me do James Brown karaoke!
Our air quality is one of the best in the country. For this reason we've attracted many people with heart, chronic, and respiratory diseases, asthmatics, pregnant women and others most at risk from air pollution. Our ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and lead levels are very low. It's amazing what health benefits emerge from eliminating the automobile.
There's never a brown cloud over Eden. Cities such as Mexico City and Caracas are hardly visible from the towering peaks nearby. Cities smell, deteriorate from acid rain, and have reduced crop yields because of our over-dependence on coal, oil, and the automobile. Yet commercials still show cars as fashionable to drive.
Is it fashionable to sit at red lights and drive through fast food joints? If you want to see a impressive transportation mode, watch our horse riders. See the horse commuters all dressed up for work. Even better, watch our horses and riders during parades or dressage. Here you'll see pure elegance, strength with grace, a truly healthful mode of transport.
We've greatly reduced vinyl chloride and formaldehyde gasses from old sofa cushions, particleboard, and other wood products traditionally made with adhesives. All rooms throughout Eden have been checked for radon. People can have one free building inspection each few years.
We allow biodegradable, organic and natural pesticides, disinfectants, rust removers, glues, antiseptics, etc. This has reduced many chemicals, including arsenic and volatile organic compounds. For the good of present and future generations we restrict what products are sold on the retail level in Eden. People have existed for thousands of years without such products, and we're better off without most of them now. There are almost always natural, biodegradable substitutes.
Unfortunately, many of us have dangerous toxin levels from living elsewhere or through inheritance. Some hazards are beyond our escape. For example, the strontium 90 levels in the teeth of people worldwide are worrisome.
A few days per year we get drifts of sulfur dioxide from coal plants more than a hundred miles away. The outlying parking lot is a source of some air pollution and chemical run off. Home bike mechanics contribute some oil-based fluids to the land and water streams, but it is relatively little compared to "normal" cities, and we actively educate residents about this source of pollution.
Additionally, we have convenient bicycle repair facilities that will give you a tune up and responsibly apply and clean off excess oil and lubricants. The Organic Lubricant Company opened here in 2003 and has a thriving worldwide business.
There's a rather new company that creates toxic cleansing tubes. These are phyto-remediation, eco-glass tubes about two feet wide that rise about twenty or so feet up. There's a pump that sends toxic wastes up a tube to the top of the cleansing tube. In the tube is a spiraling path for the liquids to trickle through. All along the tube are various plants that break down toxins, such as clover, grasses, azolla plants, and mosses that destroy pathogenic bacteria. From the outside you see this big green tube with a variety of plants cascading out. By the time any liquids reach the bottom, they are more than 95 percent detoxified.
All in all, though, we're a very clean and healthy city with conscientious residents. An emphasis on the recycling program by primary school kids builds ecological responsible living into the deeply ingrained value system and consciousness of our citizens. Field trips by secondary school biology students in and out of Eden give real world experience to students about how polluted the world really is. Continuous educational reminders in the media help keep us clean.
The water flowing into Eden comes from springs up to eight miles away on Mt. Rufous. None of it is touched by development, or major roads. A few old logging roads and bike trails cut through it, but otherwise we have some really pristine water with healthy fish.
Once a month my neighbor, Ann Teak, and her son go fishing in Lake Sedna or one of its tributaries. If I'm around, she asks if I'd like any extras that they catch. Her son cleans and filets the fish and delivers them ready to cook. I'm gonna miss Ann Teak if and when she ever passes on.
It would be awful to live in Seattle, New Orleans or Osaka and have to worry whether your fresh oysters are toxic. Through aquaculture we raise most of our consumed seafood.
We have various cisterns throughout Eden, on rooftops of most buildings and many homes. We encourage xeriscaping and we built the worlds first xeriscape golf course. Now they are common. People especially like the natural challenges of the terrain as compared to fields of carefully manicured, and heavily polluted, half inch green grasses. Of course, the putting areas are smooth natural grass and lichen areas.
So where was I? We have clean air, water, and earth and we're gonna keep it that way. Our city charter prohibits pollution, period. Well . . . some internal combustion engines do still make deliveries all over town. They puff out spurts of toxic clouds and drippings on our roads. Additionally, we have some chemical processing facilities in the university and with businesses. Some photo processing facilities use large quantities of hazardous chemicals. For each of these there are strict handling guidelines. Better still are the technical and lithographic processes that don't use water or organic, volatile products.
We cannot survive with the vast array of conveniences that we have without creating some hazardous wastes. The making of plastics, computer chips, air conditioners, etc., involves toxic chemicals. In the first years of Eden the decision was made to process or store all wastes we created, not to ship them out for some other unfortunate community to deal with. It's a matter of principle.
So we have a few options that we've been using. Long-term storage in a secure area is one. Another is to try to break down the chemicals in a manner similar to what is used for organic sewage disposal. Some wastes are recycled or used in other areas. There's an artist that uses this one red liquid in glass art sculptures. His work has this certain glow to it!
You have to make it easy for people to recycle. Recycling pantries in all residences and businesses makes it easy to separate items. All community centers have a recycling section for paint, computer screens, floor wax and other items not picked up by the curbside recycling and trash vehicles.
So, through city charter restrictions and activist citizens we have clean air, water and soil. We grow much of our own food. Many residences and businesses are built with greenhouse walls or rooftops. Inside these temperature controlled hot houses are bananas, coffee, bougainvilleas (we don't eat them, but they're gorgeous), eggplants, tomatoes, etc.
People exercise because it is natural, fun, and because walking and riding around Eden is beautiful. I'll even take Zeno out in the rain. The big thing is you're not competing with cars for space. You'll have to experience an auto-less city to recognize the endless array of sensations that you couldn't feel before.
It's peaceful when you hear the birds and wind above all else. We still get jets flying overhead, but in many places in the city core, because it is enclosed, you don't hear them. Don't get me wrong, though Eden is peaceful from a noise pollution point of view doesn't mean we don't do the boogie woogie at night. The night life here rocks.
We've got dance clubs, swing music, country, reggae, marching bands, flamenco dances, scattered acoustic stages, more musicians per capita than Nashville. We've encouraged various musicians and teachers to move to Eden.
When daddy, Ted, and the Europeans were designing the city charter, they solicited opinions from various residents. A charette was formed early on, including county and state planning officials, social workers and religious leaders. Professionals within the educational, criminal justice, and sustainable lifestyles movements were all brought together to define what they liked, didn't like, and dreamed about with respect to a future for themselves and future generations.
In three days the group had many pages of concrete and fuzzy ideas of what makes up a better place to live. Common sense came to play when defining sustainability for the long term. For example, when some planners said higher density with more public space was desirable, the fire department representative mentioned the danger if clustering and narrow streets prevented their access. When super insulation and indoor sprinkler systems were mentioned as a solution, sustainability proponents applauded their solution so long as non-toxic materials were used indoors.
At the end of the last century none of these concepts were popular - not high density developments, narrow streets, super insulation, indoor sprinklers in residences, formaldehyde-free cabinet finishes, recycled wallboards, glue-free carpets, on-site air and water-filtration systems, built-in containers for recyclables and "Low E" windows that keep in more warmth, or non-toxic materials. Yet today it's considered common sense. A long history of bad habits can discourage the adoption of obvious solutions, especially if vested financial interests are at stake.
Anyway, Eden is lively. Wow, did I get distracted or what! One of the features numerous participants in the charette mentioned was an active array of entertainers. When folks contemplated a carfree society, they imagined they'd want to get out and do more cultural activities.
The big thing with suburbia is the hassle involved in going anywhere. Of course, you have to go places. But I think suburbanites have this incessant drive to be somewhere other than where they are, and to consume.
Rush rush, go go,
Don't stand around,
Don't be so slow.
Drive to the store,
Pick out some goods,
I've got to spend some more.
Sittin' around is no good you see,
You've gotta keep moving,
Just like worker bees.
Most homes are so sterile people need to get out. And our materialistic culture compels us to head to stores to buy and consume. So our roads are clogged from early morning till late night.
Sitting in traffic and breathing car smells is bad. Even the so-called pollution-less cars still have the insidious smell of vinyl, rubber and lubricants. So you sit at a red light on a tar road with gas stations and drive thru eateries and you say to yourself, "Self, this life is ugly!"
Auto-dependent, suburban life is ugly. The vast majority of residents can't avoid experiencing a car in traffic. I can't imagine needing to use a car everyday. Granted, a drive in the country can be a wonderful thing, but to be so dependent on your car that you must use it every time you run out of cheese is obnoxious. People pay such a large portion of their incomes on this necessity! The costs are so high. Even home delivery charges in big and spread out cities are far higher than in Eden, in part because of insurance costs, gas, and the distances involved.
So people sit in front of their computers or virtual machines and seek paradise, or at least a less stressful experience, through spending, viewing, pretending, but in my opinion, not fully living. Community gives way to materialism and isolating machines. Virtual reality addicts are missing the beauty of nature in its most pure sense. They are also paying heavily for a virtual existance. The myriad of costs are so high - from the computer hardware to alienation counseling.
I used to visit friends and relatives in such places as the suburbs of Miami or inner-city Cincinnati and I just found it stressful and boring. It's not that there aren't wonderful neighborhoods in most cities, or that there's nothing to do, but the exciting things are so few when you live in the typical suburban or un-renovated city..
I'm not going to say that my friends are boring by nature, or that Miami doesn't have the best Cuban food outside Havana, or that Cincinnati doesn't have good chili. Those would be untrue statements. But lifestyles seem so dull and regimented, and square, compared to Eden. You can't just go out your door and meander for miles on beautiful pedestrian paths past sculpture gardens, animal exhibits, free towers to climb, and little cafes at the bottom (or on the roof) of condo and apartment complexes.
When traveling around most cities there are few hidden surprises. I love happy surprises, like discovering a new sculpture garden or bistro. I've got a lawyer friend, Tess Timony, who sometimes joins me for a horse ride. We were trotting through the forest and on the way back she saw a sign for a new deli and brewpub on the tenth floor of the Dandelion condo complex on the edge of the city. The view of Eden was spectacular. It was windy, so the windows were shut, but I still experienced a serene and safe feeling in looking at Eden. After all these years it feels warm and peaceful.
You don't look down on traffic and the large roads and service facilities that cover most urban landscapes. You mostly see trees in Eden, trees and fields and kids playing and the rather compact skyline that's mostly covered in a plexiglass bubble at this time of year.
Eden's beauty is seen through creative architecture, quaint private and public gardens, mixed use zoning with people living above little knitting or woodworking studios and galleries. There's a sense of wonderment in seeing such carefully tended gardens and landscaping. There are public places to go that don't require spending money, such as benches overlooking the wildlife preserves, or anywhere in city center. Truly great cities have free, public areas that offer excitement. This is why tourists flock to Amsterdam, Paris, Manhattan and small Italian villages.
There are things to do solo, or in large groups. There are places to naturally meet old and new friends, such as your garden, the community centers, or in neighborhood kiosks located in the connected and meandering park network.
With mixed-use zoning more people have little businesses out of their homes, giving vitality and, for shoppers, variety. And I feel so safe walking around. In Eden I can meet friends at a lounge and imbibe till I'm silly with no fears of getting arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Well, you do have to obey traffic laws, even on your bike or electric blades. And you can get cited for drunken and disorderly conduct. Yet you can go out and have fun, even bar hop, and walk home safely. Outside Eden it is very hard to leave the home and socialize without a car, and by law, you shouldn't enjoy the joy of drinking, one of humankind's oldest pastimes. We lose a lot of life's gusto when we become so isolated and fearful of fun.
Eden is designed for fun. Residents said they wanted culture and entertainment and it was included by design. We also included plenty of public rest rooms. There's nothing like finding yourself in a place like Ho Chi Minh City with a bursting bladder and there are no convenient public facilities. Public bathrooms help make places tourist and shopper friendly.
The best cities have great physical plans and active social organizations sharing cultural opportunities. We've successfully enticed musicians and artists to visit Eden. They perform and teach in exchange for a free vacation including various meals and health activities.
We would invite an artist to enjoy a good time in Eden in exchange for a few shows and perhaps, shared recording rights if we got them in a recording studio. We also offer free rent and stipend for a certain period, usually one week to two years, if an artist or musician offers free or in-school clinics a few times per week.
The city charter allocated a certain percentage of revenues to such cultural and entertaining endeavors. It has been enormously successful and attracted a wide variety of talented craftspeople and performers. Our world class studios and performance arenas have helped earn us a top tourist destination acclaim for over two decades. Eden is cool.
I've seen Russian ballerinas, Japanese sumo wrestlers, calligraphy specialists, acrobats, musicians and dancers from all across the globe, metalworkers, sculptures, and so many art exhibits that the cultural files in my brain are overflowing. I feel very culturally enriched.
On any night of the week I can take an evening stroll along the canal and hear the animal calls from the wildlife preserves. Even at night the popular garden trails are open for strolling. The lake makes waves and there's no better place to hear that than one of the beaches on the waterfront. Well, you could argue that one of the lakeside brewpubs is a more enjoyable destination! Lately, I've been drinking an organic apricot and cherry stout. During the summer I go for a hefe-weizen.
While every individual can choose his/her own outside medical plan, and pay accordingly, Eden began a unique policy within a year of its inception whereby all residents are covered for certain free programs, ranging from correcting bad vision with laser surgery, to free dental cleaning.
Doctors are paid reasonable rates and are covered by the city for malpractice if they adhere to customary procedures. Eden was really the first US city to have a city run non-profit, health insurance program. We weren't going to wait for the federal government. We didn't believe the feds or private industry would do a great job. They haven't. We desire excellence whenever possible. It's not an elitist policy, it is just the recognition that life is sacred and we've made it a priority to promote healthiness.
We have a preventive and holistic predilection. Pushing pharmaceuticals is discouraged. Natural remedies are encouraged. We have a big alternative and traditional network of health clinics and the patient is free to choose which method of medicine they want, so long as approved by a doctor. Most people opt for alternative health care. Most of the US is still fussing with profit driven HMOs and pharmaceutical based health care. We prefer natural remedies and green hospitals.
We'll regularly invite specialists from traditional or alternative fields of health care to work in the city for a month or two. We'll record the results from patients and compare them with our regular treatment for specified illnesses. If the care offered is assessed positively, we will attempt to offer such services.
The basic system is covered by general city taxes. For comprehensive coverage, people pay a supplement depending on lifestyle. Comprehensive care covers all the services and facilities within Eden. It is recommended for all and is reasonably priced, depending on your lifestyle. Comprehensive coverage gives access to all facilities and services in Eden, and funding for many specialized procedures outside Eden.
Our big asset is that most of us follow a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, if you smoke, you pay more. If your blood registers a heavy alcohol intake, you also pay more. If you do nothing about your cholesterol if it's over a certain count, you pay a bit more.
If you get regular checkups and follow the doctor's advice, you pay very little. Comprehensive care doesn't include certain procedures, such as a sex change or artificial parts if you don't need them. You have to pay for these services out of your own pocket or through an outside insurance provider.
Residents and doctors in our system generally don't have to mess with insurance companies and other external companies. If the system needs additional funding, a proposal is written up and presented to residents for their quarterly initiative voting. If the people detect excess or waste, they vote the initiative down.
Many of the organic farms in Eden are dedicated to growing various herbs and other plants useful in natural health care. Various businesses do quite well selling our herbs outside Eden, either through brokers, stores, or through direct on-line sales to customers. Thanks to organic farming and a lack of air pollution, our produce and herbs are considered some of the safest in the world.
You may have guessed that one of the major medical issues we face involves bicycle and in line skate accidents. Despite school training, signs, and traffic patrols and monitoring cameras, people sometimes still have fairly serious accidents, sometimes requiring expensive replacement limbs.
A more difficult issue is geriatric care and lifestyle drug costs. For the infirm we depend heavily on interactive computers, robots, family and other volunteers to help with medical treatment, especially with the terminally ill and disabled elderly. Being auto-less and having an excellent public transport system makes it easier for the elderly to get to clinics.
Being a compact, relatively small city, doctors and other practitioners find it easy to make house calls when two-way computer interaction is inadequate. One doctor down the block from me works out of his home and makes house calls on horseback. Others travel by bike, skates, and covered tri- and quad-cycles. We even have some quad-cycle ambulances with little sirens and flashing lights. They are supplemented by regular battery powered ambulances.
Most checkups are handled at home through home computers, privately and at a convenient time. When the city founders tried to identify what they wanted from technology, a useful health service was on the top of the list. Many tests can be administered at home. This really cuts down on clinic visits and overall expenses.
My elderly neighbor, Ann Teak , simply addresses the computer and asks for a blood pressure test. She has little attachments on the computer for various health tests that she does daily. She points a harmless laser on her skin for a complete diagnosis for her blood health. She's turned 82 last month. With anti-aging formulas she says she's going to live forever.
If Ann is having a serious problem, she can call up a computer generated interactive, virtual doctor. Or, she can request a live nurse or doctor on a screen, and she will often get one very quickly. If on-staff or on-line doctors are swamped, a health supervisor sends a message for other doctors to get on-line or show up for work. Attached to each of our home computer/videophone devices is a series of lights. For a doctor, if he is interested in overtime work, he clicks a switch under the green light. When help is needed, a call goes out and the green light goes on. All doctors have this same system.
So when a supervisor needs assistance, he sends out a call for help and the green lights across Eden start blinking. A little beep at a set frequency also goes off at a controllable volume. The call may be directed only to certain types of doctors, such as surgeons or rheumatoid arthritis specialists.
If the supervisor needs two specialists, the call will go out until two doctors respond. As with all the on-line employment and help calls, it's first come, first served. If a doctor desires, he or she can click off all availability except the emergency light.
The whole online employment network works this way. I used to list my services on-line with the stables as a horseback tour leader. When they needed help, my purple light would come on. When Hans would call, Hans was the tall Danish man I haven't told you about, my red light would come on.
You can adjust your lights for specific incoming calls. You can also adjust your ring. With Hans I had the machine programmed so I'd hear a gorilla's call! For daddy, I'd hear his voice calling me, "Yo-Yo, Yo-Yo, come to the phone for daddy!"
It was fun being a horse back tour leader, but I like to ride more challenging terrain and at a faster clip than what the average visitor can safely handle. And, I get paid and tipped more as a VIP tour leader, which sometimes includes a horseback tour. Last year I took the New Mexico governor and his wife out for an overnight excursion. A racoon got into his wife's garment bag that night and she was not even a little amused.
Deep in Ted Turner's preserved land he allowed two cottages to be set up for overnight ventures. They have limited accommodations and they book way in advance, but they are lots of fun. They are somewhat rustic, not on the electric grid, solar powered with small windmills.
The New Mexico governor wanted to camp in tents, so, his wife's goodies got scattered and gnawed! We were along a small creek up on a mountain ledge with a beautiful view of Eden at night.
About four miles by horseback, surrounded by Ted's land on one side, and national forest land on the other side of the highway, is Ed & Lulu Scumwaffle's place, the Boogie Woogie Bar and Dew Drop Inn.
Ted has tried to buy them out for years, as have many others. Ed and Lulu Scumwaffle won't sell. From Eden there's a windy bike and horse path that eventually ends up at the Boogie Woogie Bar. With 100 quality microbrews on tap, it's a super day excursion, and if you drink too much, you can stay at their Dew Drop Inn.
As a teen I first met Lulu Scumwaffle while out horseback riding. I befriended her and Ed Scumwaffle and during my college years I worked for them as a bartender for a summer.
Lordy, I shouldn't even mention Ed and Lulu! Some of my more outrageous antics in life occurred while working with Lulu. She's plum crazy. She'd call me her little colored marshmallow! I called her, lovingly, "bitch." All I'll say is that one time Lulu, 6'2" with bright orange pigtails, and I danced naked on their "L" shaped pool table.
Thanks to button cameras, numerous patrons took photos without us knowing it. One guy had a micro video recorder in his hat. The next day Lulu and I were the lead pictures in the fashion section of the Eden Times. A web site featured us and was spread to all corners of the earth.
The next time I saw daddy he gave me a look I'd never seen before. To be honest, I barely remember that dancing episode. A little too much porter and happy dust, I guess.
The major cause of accidents in the world that we rarely confront in Eden involves automobiles. Throughout the world automobiles kill thousands daily. You've seen the statistics.
We've had a few confrontations between service vehicles and bicycles and pedestrians, but fortunately, no fatalities. No other similar sized city in the world has such a low rate of accidental deaths as Eden. Going auto-less makes the difference in so many ways.
People say the new pollution-less cars are the answer. I ask, "to what questions are they the answers?" Even if cars spewed out the scent of magnolias, they still add to segregational development patterns and discriminate against the young, old, poor, and disabled who can't drive. They also kill and maim and require paving paradise.
In Eden we have fewer problems with asthma, heart and lung diseases, cancer, and countless other physical health ailments. Exercise leads to healthier, happier, and longer lives. Clean air adds to our health and well-being, and benefits our crop production. We eat healthier thanks in large part to home gardeners, our family farms, and aquaculture. We also restrict foods prepackaged in non-recyclable containers, which are often unhealthy, heavily processed junk foods.
One area of health we don't regulate, is genetic manipulation. Though the results are often a gamble, we don't take a stand on preventing parents from altering extra genes into the DNA of their embryos. Many states and religious communities throughout the world forbid this, but it happens regardless.
We don't encourage nor discourage this activity for various reasons. For one thing, states and the Supreme Court are overwhelmed with legislation and litigation concerning the altering of our beings. This debate is new and will not offer concrete rules under democratic governments. Scientific experiments and knowledge are changing so rapidly that one can hardly predict the next positive innovation, or become a Frankenstein nightmare.
While the state and federal governments continuously grapple with the myriad of issues, they can hardly stop new developments and snake oil salesmen. When the U.S. restricted genetic alterations concerning physical height, customers simply went to Europe and got whatever they wanted, despite the fragile bone problems. You can't deny people hope, even if it's a new, unproven, and risky nanoparticle bearing disease fighting drug. The question is, who's gonna pay for it? And, should parents take risky chances for their newborns?
Scientists have achieved so much in mapping the entire human genome. People are altering memory and other thinking skills, physical strength characteristics, the immune system, skin quality, hair color, etc. This is the bio-information age. Experimentation will not cease.
Some intelligent parts are replacements for defective limbs, others are parts people wanted because they are superior to their original body part, whether it's a foot or eyeballs. People debate what constitutes nonessential cosmetic surgery, or designer parts, versus life threatening needs.
Eden has been sponsoring an ongoing educational campaign to promote the acceptance of your natural birth parts, as opposed to trying to get enhanced replacement body parts. We carefully monitor statistics showing which percentage of new parts don't work, or worse, how many people debilitating themselves die en route to the emergency room.
This is a big issue and very costly. Under most current insurance policies you can't get an enhanced body part if your natural born part is functional. So, across the world insured people are mutilating body parts and rushing to hospitals with the hope that they'll get a free artificially intelligent and enhanced foot or penis.
Recently I heard of a woman in Houston suing her health provider for not giving her the fanciest breasts after her natural ones were removed because of cancer. The brand she wanted would change shape, depending on her desired activity, such as for swimming or socializing. Those new breasts cost around $100,000.
The debate often gets brutal. Nevertheless, there are millions of people with altered genes and artificial parts in their bodies. Unaltered babies in the developed world are becoming the rarity. The gap of rich vs. poor transcends into an ethical debate of the virtues of natural vs. enhanced body parts. The concept of playing God with genetics is the moral question of this decade.
In Eden we encourage respect for your natural body, however, many are making strong arguments that enhanced, improved replacement limbs should be encouraged. Scientists are claiming that people without disease resistant genetics are more risky to be around in that they are more susceptible to emerging diseases. They demand that all newborns undergo gene alteration.
Many people are slowly replacing body parts and waiting for the day when they can replace their entire memory, consciousness, and personality. They figure they'll replace limbs now and eventually be able to get a thinking computer brain at a size similar to the average human head of today.
If the connection is made between our current brains and an artificial brain, we will have the ability to transfer our body and mind to a machine that can survive in perpetuity, or so the theory goes. All these artificial parts are driving metal detectors and security systems bonkers. I won't even mention artificial pets and security!
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