Bird on Fire (New)

In certain generally iberal coastal circles That racist with the crazy governor and the fascist sheriff Nowadays when asked where I racist state with the governor and the fascist sheriff Nowadays when asked where I from I feel compelled to insert asterisks in my ans Bird on Fire might seem on the surface an odd choice to give five stars to as it s not really a book most people would just pick up and read It s about urban planning for one and even specifically the way truly progressive planning gets hampered by the political powers that be Secondly it s dry as hell a tome utterly fixated on presenting evidence depicting the ways policy dictates sustainability Thirdly it s about Phoenix of all places which has to be one of the east desirable cities in America a distinction Bird on Fire does ittle to dispelBut for the slow meticulous flash ess document on a city in crisis that it is Andrew Ross s book is a masterpiece of information analysis and reporting In it s own fixated way Bird is a true epic with a breathtaking Scope That At Least that at east as if it s Entranced (The Donovan Legacy, leaving no corner unturned of Phoenix s decadesong descent into an unsustainable dead zone of a metropolis All the topics you would expect are here from the hidden downfalls of a water system that magically brings water to than 4 million people in the middle of a desert to an economic engine built on real estate growth and iterally nothing where other cities were harmed by the Great Recession Phoenix was decimatedUltimately Bird is about environmental justice ooking closely at poor Phoenix communities who ike most poor communities have the most to ose from bad city planning and most fascinatingly Arizona immigrants both illegal and otherwise Arizona is infamous for its attempted crack downs on immigration into the state from Mexico but as Ross ably demonstrates it s idiotically designed metropolises ike Phoenix who are one of the primary causes of immigration as climate refugees are increasingly driven from their weather fraught ands by the sweeping effects of climate change Bird on Fire is not a pick me upper and doesn t even pretend to be optimistic but as the subtitle suggests in meticulously chronicling the worst planned city imaginable it has a ot to teach future generations of city planners and policy makers It should be reuired reading of every public official involved with urban development Phoenix bound or no This terrific book discusses the intersecting uestions of sustainability at play in what he argues is the east sustainable city Phoenix AZ The author ooks at urban sprawl ocal agriculture immigration issues Eco apartheid and urban planning as issues through which to understand how a place Buried like Phoenix struggles with the need for a new way to approach urban growth and ecological sustainability Ultimately the author argues that it all comes down to uestions of euity and environmental justice In the final chapter the author states his conclusions based on his various analyses of the uestions arguing that greening capitalism won t work It wi Invited by Future Arts Research an Arizona State University institute to come and do research of his choosing in Phoenix 19 Andrew Ross Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University endeavored to take the social and political temperature of Metro Phoenix 17 Historical research and 200 interviews with the region s thoughtful influential and active citizens 17 prove the Sunbelt a feverish place whose post war metropolitan growth provides a nationally instructive case study In this book Ross both challenges and empowers the Valley of the Sun saying If Phoenix could become sustainable then it could be done anywhere 14 Ross argues however that the path to sustainabilityies not in the eco technological fixes that we have all been encouraged to accept recycling programs water conservation LEED certified buildings enhanced public transportation run on clean fuels solar energy farms urban farming and ocal food systems but in changes in social relationships cultural beliefs and political customs 16 Otherwise no matter how innovative a technological solution it is at nearly certain risk of being ineuitably applied over social and geographical andscapes creating and reinforcing what has been termed eco apartheid 17 While he phrases it as a uestion Ross rather definitively concludes that The key to sustainability ies in innovating healthy pathways out of poverty for populations at risk rather than marketing green gizmos to those who already have many options to choose from 239 In this ine of thinking sustainability is not an effort taken on for the good of the Earth or even for future generations of children and grandchildren It is an endeavor of the current moment that ought to be invested in for the good of today s most vulnerable and affected populations 250 who ineuitably suffer environmental injustices from poor air uality to toxic exposures They should hand a copy of this to anyone who moves to greater Phoenix from out of town Fair warning if your politics are right of center you l take issue with it Is it accurate Well it s a starting point for investigation that s for sure. E also highlights the positive changes happening in Phoenix in particular the Gila River Indian Community's successful struggle to win back its water rights potentially shifting resources away from new housing developments to producing healthy ocal food for the people of the Phoenix Basin Ross argues that this victory may serve as a new model for how green democracy can work redressing the claims of those who have been aggrieved in a way that creates ong term benefits for all Bird on Fire offers a compelling take on one of the pressing issues of our time finding pathways to sustainability at a time when governments are dismally failing their responsibility to address climate chang. ,


Andrew Ross ð 8 Summary

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Many of us read in the hope that from time to time we might come across a book that will change our ives avid readers occasionally have this experience and are alert to its recurrence Ross s Bird on Fire whacked me onto or ess a different path of reasoning and in that sense certainly opened up some possibilities His topic is the City of Phoenix AZ and what I d ike to say is sustainable growth in parched climes ike that of Phoenix perhaps a virtual oxymoron but instead it s just sustainability Growth is somewhat problematic for what it s wrought And Phoenicians must recognize that sustainability is well nigh impossible given their unsustainable water picture But to recognize the impossibility of their water situation amid a decade A Certain Justice (Adam Dalgliesh, long drought withittle prospect of surcease Phoenicians would have to blast their real estate driven model of growth to bits And barring a catastrophe that seems unlikely to happen our The Shadow Reader lifetimes as Ross tells the tale after scores of interviews with Phoenicians of every walk ofife And it will surely not happen as Cinderella Unmasked (Fairytale Fantasies long as Midwesterners continue to throng to Phoenix and the city remains able to tie up regional water resources such as the relatively recent court awarded bounty granted to the Gila River Indian Reservation that might be bought or traded for to support additional building And thereinies a complex story as the interaction of economy and environment is invariably a complex phenomenon Ross s sustainability has ayer after worrisome ayer but in the end comes down to the two Phoenixes or to generalize even to god help us John Edwards Two Americas exemplified by the suburban sections north of town where the affluent make pious choices to buy a Prius eat organic support endangered species and the other south side of town where whole communities are treated as dumping grounds for waste disposal and hazardous industry where NIMBY rules simply don t obtain In the The Power Of A Choice long run Ross writes there is nothing sustainableabout one populationiving the green American dream while across town another is still trapped in poverty and pestilence In our ush eafy tranuil suburbs we seldom have much of an idea how that other half truly ives and what miserable circumstances it at times is forced to endure Many but surely not most will know some of this in the abstract or from the news or from actual experience Nor do we often take the time to focus on that We read a book that bares such elemental truths in a dispassionate sympathetic voice and a sense of guilt iberal guilt a salutary emotion may set in The solution apart from a mad rush out the door to do good works seems a uixotesue uest for ending eco apartheid and achieving genuine justice which would entail a kind of minimax conditionality for entire communities all the way up to the national evel grow yes by all means because without growth the wherewithal for solutions might not exist making change at best difficult but figure out how to do so might not exist making change at best difficult but figure out how to do so a way that also advantages the east members of your community and Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling leaves something for posteritywhich is essentially a definition of sustainable growth In 2012 this is a ferociously difficult injunction under current rules Theeast we might then do is spend some time thinking about how increment by increment we might begin to make that happen The problem of course is that the rules 90 percent of us are playing by are market driven
Onesrules Both Formal And Informal 
both formal and informal tend to agree with that Monsieur Pain leave ample freedom of action rules that are adjustable to be sure to suit a variety of conditions not graven in stone tablets But rules that simple cannot provide all the answers we may beooking for Moreover in the instance at hand Ross is talking about Arizona which isn t in the transcultural empathy business these days and has traditionally been on the receiving end of eco and economic immigrants in flight from dried out windblown ranch and farmland newly devoid of water and ivelihoods We read about that in the newsI m beginning to ramble Andrew Ross has knocked me out of a comfort zone in which I wasn t uite aware I had been cosseted into a zone of nervous disuiet And I really should ve known better having grown up in the heart of NJ s Cancer Alley Ross s subtitle implies that there are essons we can draw from the experience of Phoenix and there are But he doesn t produce drumrolls and trumpet fanfares to announce them he would rather his readers weigh his narrative and evidence and reach their own conclusions And nearly a week after finishing this challenging uietly confrontational work I m still thinking about what to do A good book can do that And I have a few ideas It first has to be asked if the author in his two years in the valley practiced what he preached Did he eat all vegetarian food in the valley and throughout his ife outside of the valley meat is shown to be one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases Did he take public transportation everywhere or walk Did he find a green book manufacturer to publish his book All too often these educators of sustainability wish to dictate to the people how. Phoenix Arizona is one of America's fastest growing metropolitan regions It is also its east sustainable one sprawling over a thousand suare miles with a population of four and a half million minimal rainfall scorching heat and an insatiable appetite for unrestrained growth and unrestricted property rights In Bird on Fire eminent social and cultural analyst Andrew Ross focuses on the prospects for sustainability in Phoenix a city in the bull's eye of global warming and also the obstacles that stand in the way Most authors writing on sustainable cities ook at places ike Portland Seattle and New York that have excellent public transit systems and relatively high density But Ross co. They Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. live theirives while at the same time iving a ife that has a carbon footprint of than 10 people A recent example in case is President Barack Obama who went to California and gave a speech on the drought while ater playing golf at a course that uses millions of gallons of water Harrison Ford and Al Gore have many mansions and private jets while at the same time telling the public how they should cut back for climate change So I uestion if he is a hypocrite ike just these three examples givenOne of the asinine theories made by Ross is that illegal immigrants make Phoenix green and sustainable He uses the remarks of the city archaeologist to try and make a stretched parallel between the ancient Hohokam having migrant Glitter Bomb (A Scrapbooking Mystery, labor thateft after helping in certain seasons as the theory goes and that of immigrants today who stay for extended periods or permanently To somehow say that increased permanent immigrant population does not have an effect on sustainability is stupidity You can t have it both ways Either there IS a sustainablility green problem that would clearly be exacerbated by an influx of immigrants that add carbon demand on water or population has zero effect on sustainability Make no mistake about it this is not a man who goes by facts he twists facts to fit his own beliefs On a personal note I take no issue with immigrantsAndrew Ross continually claims that because Phoenix is in a desert it should not be there Civilization started in the desert He also implies that there is some water crisis with Phoenix in the future This is simply not true SRP has put infrastructure in place that was begun over 100 years ago such as many reservoirs Il morto di Maigret large enough to hold enough water for many years without additional inflowakes Roosevelt Apache Canyon Saguaro and underground auifers that hold massive amounts of water It is also important to note that these reservoirs have had upgrades that have taken decades to construct to increase their capacity Still Mr Ross made no mention of any of thisHe continually tries to tie development in greater Phoenix to the ow Colorado river when agriculture accounts for nearly 80% of consumption of the river Ross makes no mention of voluntary education programs in water conservation that have cut water usage to ess than that seen in the 1980s when the population was a ot ess in Phoenix The book tries to be critical of a 2006 referendum called prop 207 that was in response to eminent domain and forced zoning ideologies on property owners such as historic preservation ordinances The author is clearly driven by political opinion of the Globalization: A Multi-Dimensional System, Third Edition left and is hostile to property rights and individual freedom andiberty Ross offers really no solutions to the problems he raises I would give this book 2 if I could Not the damning manifesto I expected but rather a fact based Billionaires Contract Engagement (Kings of the Boardroom look at the fragility of Phoenix and citiesike it A must read for anyone interested in what too many people think is the city of the future If we did ever Sexual Secrets live in the clouds or in space it wouldook ot ike Phoenix In case you couldn t tell from the title couldn t tell from the clever title city is Phoenix and the book is depressing The city should not exist really unless it reduced itself to about 40000 residents who ive in xeriscaped adobe huts Phoenix is the product of rampant boosterism attracting highly polluting and totally boom and bust cycle dependent businesses the biggest of which is housing The city could have et the world in solar energy development but for many frustrating reasons has not If there is a good thing about ife here other than the sun and my relatives who ive there Ross does not share it So why read this Not to feel better about wherever you ive although you certainly could do that No this book comes at a time when the whole country risks making many of the bad decisions Phoenix has so this is almost iterally a textbook example of how not to make a place to The West Transformed: A History of Western Civilization, Vol 1, to 1715 live Textbook is actually an apt description as Ross is a professor and his writingeans to the academic s ove of ong unvaried sentences But Ross not only knows his history and policy but he also talked to a wide range of Phoenicians who offer varying perspectives on their city and it s fate I wanted a book about Phoenix and may be feeling unduly harsh that this is a much broader book about the American Southwest immigration and environmentalism that rarely focuses for ong on the actual nitty gritty of urban ife and planning "in the specified city Ross has some interesting ideas and anecdotes to share I particularly appreciated " the specified city Ross has some interesting ideas and anecdotes to share I particularly appreciated section on environmental justice and the take down of FAIR but their disorganized arrangement and ack of thorough sourcing makes me want to ship the entire book back to him with a note reading Good rough draft now rework by Keith SpencerIt s a bad time to be an Arizonan Even my mother who expatriated from New York 30 years ago admitted to me recently that our Arizona heritage had become an embarrassment In the past few years the state of my birth once known for its desert andscape and cowboy history has been reduced to a string of diminutives. Ntends that if we can't change the game in fast growing ow density cities ike Phoenix the whole movement has a major problem Drawing on interviews with 200 influential residents from state The Anathema Cell legislators urban planners developers and green business advocates to civil rights champions energyobbyists solar entrepreneurs and community activists Ross argues that if Phoenix is ever to become sustainable it will occur through political and social change than through technological fixes Ross explains how Arizona's increasingly xenophobic immigration aws science denying egislature and growth at all costs business ethic have perpetuated social injustice and environmental degradation But
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Bird on Fire