The book It Takes a Village, written by Hillary Clinton, easily comes to mind and begs the question about similarities and differences between her “village” and a 3CFortress. I wanted to see if her “village” can be compared to my 3CFortress. Ends up, it is worth taking a look to see if any parallels can be seen.
While Hillary is focusing on “raising a child” the book does have several points I can see as fitting in with the 3CFortress concept. The most obvious being a “village” can be considered one of the 3C’s…Community. As pointed out in earlier segments a 3CFortress crosses the line from something too small to being a series of large cities. However you scale it, the 3CFortress has to be self-sustaining.
Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Book
In the tenth anniversary edition introduction she talks about taking “long walks” with Bill. Hold that thought. Can you take a long walk where you live? Many places are just not set up for this as the original urban planning lost sight of its goal. I still list the challenge of walkability as a high hurdle towards the Walk, Walk, Walk part of your 3CFortress.
Still in the introduction she talks about the “core” of the book being about parents “important influences on the lives of their children”. In the 3CFortress this is true but you have to take it one step forward. No matter how great a parent you are, where you live has a tremendous influence over your ability to raise your child/children. When we moved to the Overland Park, KS/Kansas City, MO area in 1999 we faced several challenges about where to live and where our two children would go to school. When we compared Blue Valley School District and the Kansas City, MO school district the decision was obvious. We accepted living is a more expensive area just so our kids would have a quality education. It still came down to choosing one “living triangle” over another in order to raise our children the way we wanted. Granted, not everyone can afford decisions like this but the 3CFortress brings savings to the “living triangle” so that children can be raised in a better environment.
Let me step away from the village book for a moment to talk about whether or not the 3CFortress can work in a very small town up to a very large city. I’ve written about how a 3CFortress could work in Detroit. It can work, with the proper planning, in any major city. What has to happen is breaking the city down into sustainable units. Generally speaking, the Garden City size of fifty thousand can be a workable number. With that said I’ve lived and travelled through cities just under or over fifty thousand and they suffer from the urban sprawl and lack of urban planning just like a city of over one million. The living triangle is way out of whack and nowhere close to passing a walkability test.
“Children are not rugged individualists”. Couldn’t agree more but my take on this is how far does the children have to move in order to move from home to school and recreation? What is their living triangle? Being able to walk to any of these is a key point in how well the child can relate to their environment and grow into a productive and successful citizen. I don’t see where any “busing” students to school experiment worked and most are being dismantled. How can a student relate with others when they are bused over an hour to school? Just can’t see it. I remember being able to walk down to convenience stores (Ben Franklin) and a local grocery (IGA) and I think this is great. We need more of this, not more parents having to drive their kids to school and recreation.
“Everywhere we look children are under assault” and she goes on to mention several of the threats. Stop and think for a moment about why these threats have “skyrocketed” in current times. Could it be that your living triangle is out of whack? When we had (if we ever did) the Norman Rockwell idyllic family we did know our neighbors. We didn’t need a formal Neighborhood Watch program. You didn’t have to worry about your kids being out late, as you knew their friends and their parents. I submit that as you grow your “living triangle” it starts to present problems. In the security world we call it “situational awareness”. You can’t have that if you are unfamiliar or concerned with your local environment but can have that in a 3CFortress. A lot to be said for morals being lowered if you are not in your hometown (village) and if you wouldn’t want it on a billboard in your local town, would you be doing it?
For the parents raising children their living triangle size means a great deal on how their lives can be listed as successful, less stressful and more meaningful. The nightmare scenario is driving your kids to school (you don’t like or trust the bus), then driving an hour to work and back again in traffic, making sure one spouse (if you are not a single parent) can pick up the children at school and driving to a store or restaurant for the evening meal and/or driving at least one child to sports practice or games. When you are faced with a long living triangle are you really getting to know your co-workers, neighborhoods and those in your support net? Very doubtful!
At one point Hillary talks about teaching a child “to ride a bike”. This reminded me of another thing lost in most of our current environments. What good is it to teach a child to ride a bike if there is nowhere to ride it? If walking is a bit far then ride a bike. When is the last time you say a person riding a three-wheel bike to the local grocery store to pick up some items? If you saw that person today would you think them strange? Would they think they were secure in doing this or subject to someone knocking them off their bike and taking their items? Do bike lanes exist in your community or do you feel safe riding a bike to work or for recreation? If you can’t answer these questions in the positive then I say you need to look at the 3CFortress concept.
“Children…depend on a host of other ‘grown-ups’…who touch their lives directly and indirectly”. No doubt about children needing this but when you think about it don’t the rest of us depend on each other to make our village or 3CFortress environment a great place to grow up, work and play? Sure we do. Just like children needing “Adults police our streets” don’t we too? I can’t pin down when this broke down but “Political Correctness” comes to mind. Not being able to say that something doesn’t fit in should not bring on retribution for making that point. Not everything is good for the whole and we can’t rely on the local police or the rule of law to enforce social norms. Do you feel like you influence other children in your neighborhood? I’ll save how society is headed down the slippery slope for another time.
“For a child, the village must remain personal”. Beautiful. Just try to imagine if the parents could control everything in their village. Is everything in your village at a “personal” level? Can you name people in your village support net by name? What I will bring up at this point is whether or not your support net is personal by asking if you know the name of someone in your local grocery store? The manager? The butcher? Do you know who prepares the fresh fruit and vegetables or the name of the farm/farmer that supplies that store? In summary, going to the “Mall” took away a lot if not all of this “personal” level of doing business. The “Mall” concept is lacking on the personal level, not set up they way they were originally intended and is not part of a 3CFortress.
Let Us Build a Village Worthy of Our Children chapter. My translation would be, Let Us Build a Sustainable 3CFortress. Several great thoughts pop up in this chapter. She starts off talking about a trip to Northern Ireland, which I too have visited recently. After talking with a cab driver that grew up in West Belfast there is no doubt that living anywhere in Belfast is better since the peace treaty was signed. Yet some things seem like they will never change. She didn’t mention the “Peace Walls” put up by the British for ten months still up after many years. If you do make the trip to Belfast take the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour and while only a glimpse of the issues and times past it will leave you with a sense that some things can’t change. Let me be clear that a 3CFortress set up with a peace wall between another 3CFortress is not what I envision. Not even close as a village or any community behind any walls is really a castle. We know castles failed and any 3C built as a walled complex is not sustainable. The peace wall communities had gates but they shut down at night for security reasons. Does this sound like the village that Hillary is talking about or one that fits the 3CFortress concept? Walls don’t allow the community to thrive and grow together and ignores the base problems of what created a war zone environment in the first place.
“The village we build with them in mind will be a better place for us all.” Very true and the 3CFortress can be the “village” mentioned here. Besides focusing on how the child is raised the focus needs to be on a larger scale in order to benefit “us all”. Looking at all the risks and building a 3CFortress incorporating the benefits and strengths into a sustainable and successful environment into a workable plan is the way to go. Think about the acronym AdIOS.
“Whether or not you agree with me, I hope it promotes an honest conversation among us.” Exactly my point in writing this section is I hope to get a conversation going. I argue that it not only takes a village but to overcome the challenges of raising our children by making a 3CFortress plan and putting it into action. You are not able to do this by yourself. It will take the whole 3C, community, city or corporation united in the effort of building a 3CFortress.
Quick Tip on Hurricane season (June through November) preparation. Whenever you are looking at a risk you have to think about the probability that it will happen and what damage (impact) it could do. In the article, “HURRICANE LUCK WILL RUN OUT”, Protect America with structural security, by Roger Pielke, Jr. in USA TODAY, June 10, 2014 he points out that “the 1926 Miami storm would result in more than $180 billion in damage …almost twice the damage of Hurricane Katrina and nearly four times that of Sandy” were it to hit in 2014. Does this sound like something your 3C better prepare for…NOW? Will the state and Federal recovery be spot on or more like Katrina? Why would you want to wait and find out? Creating a 3CFortress plan will mitigate those risks by following your plan save the day. A proper plan will not only save the day but weeks and months afterwards as sustainability, continuity and survival are integral parts of that plan.
“When it does (hit), we will have no excuse not to be prepared”. Questions about “strong buildings” go back to 1933 so why haven’t we headed such warnings? There are cases where we have. I heard of a building (in Mississippi?) built to withstand 180 mph winds and it did survive Katrina. Forcing residents on the East Coast post-Sandy to raise their homes above the flood/storm surge levels drew many protests. Seems to emphasize that if we don’t learn from history we are bound to repeat it. Insurance companies and State/Federal governments are not going to be able to repeatedly pay out after disasters when hazard mitigation and preparing for the next one is possible. We need to take this beyond the individual building/residence level and make the 3CFortress a working concept.
Look Who’s Talking – Machiavelli. Well, in 1513 he was talking <smile>. Here is what he said:
There is nothing more difficult to plan, more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old system, and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new one. – Machiavelli, 1513
The new system is the 3CFortress. The old system is retreats, urban planning and corporations, as we know them today. Should I count you as a “lukewarm defender” or advocate that can be counted on when the going gets dangerous?
Running a little long today but take a look at this article:
What Do You Think? Do any of the ten people seem to be advocating anything like a 3CFortress approach? Could the 3CFortress concept rebuild Detroit from the ashes (current situation)?