Deep in the back row of the upper, upper balconies, which are all full today, you can do whatever you want because no one will see you. Can you hear the sonata?
…something completely different…speaks for itself…
From a newspaper,
‘A livestock owner, who staked out his pen in a bid to apprehend the thief responsible for his regularly ‘disappearing’ milk, stumbled upon a couple in a compromising position instead.
Unable to pinpoint the reason his goat’s milk vanished everyday, the owner deduced it could be the handiwork of a thief. Crouched in a corner inside the pen, the owner made sure he could clearly watch the entrance and pounce on the thief when needed.
An hour later, a GMC Suburban vehicle stopped near the entrance. Stepping out of the vehicle, an Asian driver and a woman entered the pen and hastened into a room located on the far side.
Waiting awhile, the owner tiptoed towards the room expecting to catch the couple pilfering his goat’s milk. He found no thief and as he barged into the room he froze in his tracks.
Right in front of him, the couple were engaged in a sex session. Shocked to see an uninvited stranger they jumped up in surprise and tried to flee.
Refusing to budge without an explanation, the owner demanded they produce their identity cards that revealed their respective nationalities. The amorous couple further disclosed that they used his pen as a regular rendezvous for their animated meetings and also helped themselves to the available goat milk.
When the owner insisted on producing them at a police station, the woman burst into tears pleading to be forgiven. The Asian too followed suit. Not wanting to blow the issue into scandalous proportions, the owner let the couple off the hook.
*end of story*
My comment–happened in Kuwait twenty some odd years ago, when reporters just told a good story without trying to take a political position or without trying to change the world. I found the story fun to read and without heartburn. Can’t remember the last news story I’ve read this year that came without heartburn. 🙂
I did some landscape stuff while in Kuwait.
I’ve been writing landscape adventure stories the past couple years, and in a strange fashion, the narrators of each story have taught me new perceptions of landscape architecture and design.
For example, the narrator of Crystal Vision explained to me that landscape harbors danger for humans and that garden is safe and primarily provides for quiet introspection and also for active and regular energy exchange. The narrator explained further that both landscape and garden are deficient if not dominated by plants sustained by adequate water.
Yeah, it did make sense to me, anyone else agree?
My two cents worth… What is at the heart of a comfortably walkable neighborhood?
1. Public ways that have human scale. Like the above.
Comment: Originally built before autos—but still able to accommodate wagons and animals. How can these be built today and meet your local and regional health and safety requirements? Maybe it is time to rethink health and safety requirements?
2. Social communities where people are truly respectful of neighbors. Like the above.
Comment: Where true respect exists, people do not worry about personal effects (see lower right above) being defaced or stolen. Or covered with graffiti and tags which often these days are the first signs of disrespectful neighbors.
Care for a walk?
Lived lots of years in foreign countries–foreign cultures.
Cross-cultural are experiences in which I have been face-to-face with people and behaviours I did not understand and often did not agree.
…as opposed to multi-cultural which is theory only.
In my work as a landscape architect in those foreign countries and foreign cultures, I had to build major projects. Had to reach workable agreements in difficult cross-cultural conditions. Learned so very much from so many different people.
The links below track some of my cross-cultural journeys.
They are all HD, all less than one minute long, and they are all growing from the Empty Quarter, the Rub al Khali.
Rub al Khali Enigma: the Empty Quarter in the Arabian Peninsula, what it is.
Dreams: how to get from dreams to fiction to reality, Atlantis Dubai 2008.
Empty Quarter: transforming cross-cultural realties, harsh environments into restful shelter, Qasr al Sarab 2010.
A Golf Academy in the Empty Quarter?
At the heart of a tremendous landscape. Interlaken.
In the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps, Interlaken is a 365day/year resort destination on the Aare River connecting two lakes at the confluence of four valleys.
Interlaken alone has more than 900,000 overnight stays/year. Tourism drives the economy. Landscape drives the tourism.
This place is all about design, why? Because this landscape exudes inspiration, it enables captivation. A guest can see it, breathe it, feel it, taste it and touch it. Landscape feeds design.
But change is inevitable. New design is required.
What is the inspirational magic that fills the air in this landscape? For two hundred years the greatest authors, composers and all humans have been captivated by this ethereal landscape beauty which has propelled them to design, compose, write, paint.
Great American writers have built on their experience in this landscape: Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper. And a partial list overwhelms: Haller, Rousseau, Goethe,(as inspired by the Staubbach in Lauterbrunnental), Byron, Mendelssohn, Schiller, AC. Doyle, Tolkien, Bierstadt, Caspar Wolf, Hodler, Calame, and pop ‘artists’ like James Bond, Clint Eastwood.
In the last century the Art Nouveau movement spurred deluxe hotel and town growth here.
The most practical and interconnected transportation and communication systems were overlain for easy access. Best in class convenience from the international airports of Zurich, Geneva and Bern via network of trains, trams and busses seamlessly linked to networks of bikes and pedestrians to all winter and summer recreation options including every xxx-treme sport. These put visiting humans into direct touch with the landscape.
Visitors gain access via Interlaken to sites having the UNESCO ‘international seal of approval’:
UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch: An area of 400 square kilometres to demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature unfolds as a mystical world with pre-Alpine moorland and karst landscapes.
UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau Aletsch: An overwhelming display of the Alps’ natural beauty covering over 800 square kilometres. At its heart lies the mighty rock massif of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and the glacial landscape around the Great Aletsch Glacier. The Aletsch Glacier is 23km long, the longest glacier in the Alps.
So what’s the problem? The hotel, resort destination cycle has been bottoming as the visitor profile has changed. Nobody has grasped what is the 21st century successful tourism paradigm. Four and five star hotels are out of business. Other hotels from the Art Noveau era can not easily meet the 21st century energy savings regulations. And the visitor who 30 years ago would visit one or two weeks, now visits two or three days.
Berner Oberland Region = 12,000 beds; net occupancy rate 50%
Interlaken Region = 4,000 beds; net occupancy rate 64%
International Arrivals = Europe 50%, Asia 25%, Americas 15%, Africa 5%, Middle East 5%
Interlaken Region Arrivals = Swiss 45%, International 55%
In conclusion, this Interlaken landscape region has undeniable attraction to Swiss and every geographical segment of international visitor. The annual visits are steady. The communication and transportation infrastructure is up to date and best in class; but the types of accommodations are not leading the way. The tradition of four and five star has all but disappeared–it struggles.
But there are committed private sector players whose future is based upon visitors’ feet on the landscape, regional transportation and watch consolidator. Both of them rely on successful, comfortable and convenient overnights.
Where does this landscape tourism go in the first half of the 21st century?
Airbnb, local holiday apartments, dormitory accomodations?
Are the traditional comforts of four and five star hospitality culture a memory, not suited to today’s green regulations, today’s pace of life, today’s constrained economics?
Or is there a new paradigm still undiscovered that matches and challenges this timeless inspirational landscape?
That is a question for designers, entrepreneurs and lovers of landscape.
Remember the landscape context–this is the Empty Quarter–coastal edge, coastal zone.
Blue or green is rare and highly sought after, difficult to access. The coast line of the Gulf. City parks. The above two images are what I think the planners call ‘pent up demand’. But you’ve got to drive to get to these nodes. Tell me these green and blue major recreation nodes should not be 10 minutes or less walking from every front door.
Dense apartment life everywhere–that is Dubai.
So I said what might that locally accessible (ten minute walk max) neighbourhood park look like?