Friday, August 8, 2014

Should Marin be run by a Benevolent Dictatorship?

"Marinwood/Lucas Valley shall become a Transit Oriented Village to house the needy"

In last post  Andres Duany, father of New Urbanism,  comments that top down urban planning as seen in Singapore achieves remarkable results.  Many Smart Growth advocates agree.

Perhaps Marin should be urbanized with the brutal efficiency of a benevolent dictatorship

Here are excerpts from two articles plus links about  Singapore Justice.  The most telling of comments are by Singaporean residents following the Washington Post article.  It seems that many people see through the veil of "benevolence" for the suffocating reality that it is.


Excerpt from Washington Post article "

What Singapore can teach us"

*Transport. Singapore runs the world’s best airline (despite being based in a nation the size of New York City, with no internal flights). The subways are gorgeous. The city uses electronic road pricing — every wonk’s dream — to ease traffic at peak hours. Digital signs advising where ample parking places can be found dot the main thoroughfares.

*Housing. In America, “public housing” means “ghetto.” In Singapore, 80 percent of people live in public housing and virtually all of them own their homes, having received mortgage assistance from the government. It’s part of the national strategy to build assets and foster the positive social behavior that comes with ownership.

*Urban planning/climate change. A big chunk of the downtown bay area is now a reservoir via a feat of engineering I don’t pretend to understand but which experts tell me is remarkable. Meanwhile, Singaporean officials don’t debate whether climate change is real but instead are taking such impressive steps to cope that one U.S. guru told me “it’s actually embarrassing as an American to look at what they have done.”

For full article : What Singapore can teach Us   (be sure to read the reader's comments too) 


excerpt from Sustainability Institute's Article:

Singapore Leads the Good Life Under a Benevolent Dictator

Singapore has achieved the American dream, but not in the American way. It is a prosperous, clean city, with imposing skyscrapers and glittering shopping centers. The multinational corporations of the world are welcome here; you can buy any brand name you've ever heard of. The highways are lined with tropical flowers and crowded with BMWs. And at the head of this thriving free-market state is a clever, socialist dictator.

....Lee Kuan Yew has interfered with every aspect of Singaporean life. To control population growth he set up free family planning clinics. Then he mounted education campaigns ("Plan your family small") and decreed that women having third-or-more babies would get shorter maternity leave, higher hospital charges, and less income tax relief. There is a $5000 reward for mothers who agree to be sterilized after their second child. Sterilized parents get top priority for public housing, and their children get into desirable schools.

Singaporeans now accept that two is the right number of children. When I asked one woman how she felt about that, she told me she'd like to have three or four. "But," she said brightly, "I understand why I shouldn't have that many. We are a small, crowded island." In fact the birth rate has fallen so low among highly-educated women, that Lee now offers incentives to "educated mothers" to have three children or more.

All over the city identical 16-story housing blocks rise, each with its recreation center, swimming pool, shopping center, community center, and school. The apartments are well-built and spacious.

Anti-social behavior is not permitted in Singapore. The fine for littering is $250. Jaywalking, spitting, and smoking in government offices are also fined $250. Gambling, except for the state lottery, is illegal. The punishment for drug trafficking is death.

I tried to find Singaporeans who are unhappy with their paternalistic government. In a week of searching, I found none. People think the regulations make sense. No one seems to fear the government; most feel they can bring complaints to it. ...

Singapore just doesn't fit the world's categories. It's a dictatorship with free speech, no fear, and no corruption. It's an economy that uses capitalist means to attain socialist ends.

For the full article: Singapore Good Life


Of course there is a dark side to Singapore too.

For more on Singapore Justice see Caning in Singapore

For more on the American Teenager sentenced to caning after vandalism see: Michael P Fay

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