‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’
— Richard Buckminster Fuller
For almost two years now MESH Cities has worked to distribute the intelligent cities of tomorrow, today (not to mention taking side trips to explore the Mobile, Efficient, Subtle, Heuristics themes from which we derive our name).
Like writer William Gibson we believe that the technologies, processes, and people needed to make our growing cities livable if not completely sustainable are here today. They are just not evenly distributed. It should come as no surprise to anyone that even when great solutions exist that can allow us all to live lives that are more-or-less carbon neutral, getting those solutions to the people who can change things is not as simple or as easy as one might expect.
Change is hard. Changing behaviour is almost impossible, especially when people benefit in the short term by not changing. We have learned first hand what former Nobel Prize recipient and US President Woodrow Wilson cautioned: “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”
But change is possible. We use Buckminster Fuller’s quote above not only as our editorial guide, but also our mission statement. We want to help build a world that is so compelling for everyone that it will be easy to choose change over business as usual—where BAU results in ever more Sandy-like events.
Are we dreaming?
Take a look at our lead photo. This is a circa 1950s cigarette machine. When built it was ubiquitous. Every store, restaurant, bowling alley, and drug store had one. Really. Sixty years later and no people we know smoke cigarettes. If we travel to countries where smoking is still part of the society norm, the cultural shock we experience is visceral.
Why are these people killing themselves?
In North America we’ve changed the smoking game by changing behaviour. It can be done.
Join MESH Cities as it explores the ways 21st Century cities can change for the better. We don’t lecture or scold when advocating for a more livable future (well, ok, maybe occasionally). We are dedicated to designing a better world people will want to be part of. Help us work towards that goal in 2013.