Jul. 29, 2011 at 10:52am
A new skyline for Tacoma
Sometimes I daydream. When I daydream I get ideas. Sometimes they're good, sometimes they're not. But I love that I get them. Sometimes I think being a conduit for these ideas is the reason I was put here on earth. I see connections that people around me don't see. Where some people see locked doors, I see secret entrances. Where they see status quo, I see possibilities. Lately I've had a reoccurring theme: how to make life better in Tacoma. I know its small potatoes to just think about my own neighborhood but the world is a big place. I don't want to bite off more than I can chew and sometimes what you do in your own neck of the woods can blaze a trail. You never know the power of an idea. The good ones are contagious.
I think the best way to make life better for my fellow Tacomans is to find a way to lower the cost of living (and running a business) so that people can spend their money on things that bring a better quality of life because this in turn will also lead to growth in our local economy. Can you imagine the amount of increase in discretionary income and investment capability we would have if the cost of living (communication,transportation, food and electricity) were significantly lowered? No more cable bill, cell phone bill, land line bill, power bill. Lowered water bill. Lowered grocery bill. Lowered transportation costs (gas, Maintenance, insurance, parking). By my estimation the average person probably spends around $1500 a month towards these things. This money could be put to much better use.
Regular life and survival should not carry such a hefty price. People need time and space to enjoy life, socialize, daydream, discuss ideas and plan. They should not be forced to live only for work in order to survive. That is called slavery and a lot of people are living that way now.
One thing I've heard people say many times, and I truly believe it, is that Tacoma is a place where anyone can rise to the top but that doesn't necessarily equate to making a living. We are the city of destiny. Let's create an environment where people can do what they are passionate about and be successful without having to drive north for an hour.
Small and medium size businesses account for more employment than all big corporations combined. If we want more jobs then we need to encourage startups and local manufacturing. And don't stop there, we also have to create inexpensive communication channels so that people know the local option is there.
Here are three ideas I had (that work in conjunction with eachother) for how to begin:
* Make Downtown (and as much of Tacoma as possible) a wifi zone. Even if it's slower, people and businesses will still have a free option. They can use it for wifi cell phones, credit card acceptance, viral advertising, entertainment, television and etc.
* Buy sustainable energy options (like solar panels, windmills, rain barrels and etc) in bulk to allow affordable conversions for homes and businesses. The more "off grid" we are the better off we would be in an energy crisis and if we do it intelligently it should save money for everyone even in the short term. We should create irresistible incentives to encourage people to buy into the solar, wind, water or whichever option(s) that make the most sense. And people don't need to go cold turkey, it could be phased in over time. Maybe we could suggest off grid hours at night and reward people who do it.
* Invest in transportation options that allow people to seldom use or even get rid of their cars. Options we know about already are: streetcars, zip cars, NEVs, golf carts converted for street use, bicycle friendly roads, secure bike parking areas, car sharing and buses. What about a ski lift for bicyclers to grab onto and be pulled up the hills? We could even try subsidizing taxi service to make that a more economical option although I would personally like to get away from gasoline powered options entirely but I understand we have to make baby steps. :) And if there are more local jobs people will be able to work closer to home so they will not need to commute to Seattle or Bellevue to work in their field of choice so they will less often need to use their cars anyway.
Obviously it will take research and money to implement these plans and I know there will be obstacles but I have absolute faith that there are people in our community who can overcome each obstacle as they occur if we just start talking and walking in this direction. Even if the experiment fails, any progress in this direction would be a good one. There will be opposition. Corporations don't want us to have our own power, our own water, our own food, our own internet service and our own transportation system and I'm afraid that if we don't seize these things now, the path to them might be blocked forever. The time to act is now.
I have a vision of downtown Tacoma as a completely self sustained area. Perhaps the first one of it's kind. I see solar panels, rain barrels, gardens and windmills on our skyline. How beautiful that would be! And the people would be free to think and dream and make the life for their families that they always wanted.
These aren't original ideas. Many people have had them but the combination on a large scale would make a dramatic shift in lifestyle for the people of Tacoma and I think that is an idea worth spreading.(Yes I've been watching a lot of Tedtalks!)
Thanks for listening,
comments  | posted under bills, cost of living, economy, local, sustainable, TacomaComments
by NineInchNachos on 7/29/2011 @ 1:33pm
|clean clean hydro-power|
by NineInchNachos on 7/29/2011 @ 1:35pm
|teach the kids! www.amazon.com/Curious-Garden-Peter-Brow...|
by JesseHillFan on 7/30/2011 @ 1:52am
|How about personal Thorium Nuclear reactors like this kid was trying to build.
The Radioactive Boy Scout
by fredo on 7/30/2011 @ 12:47pm
|"I think the best way to make life better for my fellow Tacomans is to find a way to lower the cost of living (and running a business) so that people can spend their money on things that bring a better quality of life because this in turn will also lead to growth in our local economy."
Angie, that sounds eerily similar to something I would have posted. Good luck with that.