Sustainability Debate – The Whites


The Whites are the synthesists, and do not entirely oppose or agree with any of the three other views. With an optimistic view of humankind, they believe that process will win the day, that people who tell others what is right lead society astray. Since Blues, Reds, and Greens all fall into that category, Whites reject them all, preferring a middle way of integration, reform, respect, and reliance. They reject ideologies whether based on markets, class, or nature, and trust that informed people can solve their own problems. On the environmental level, they argue that all issues are local. On business, they say the fabled level playing field never existed because of market imperfections, lobbying, subsidies, and capital concentration. On social problems, they argue that solutions will naturally arise from place and culture rather than from ideology. Leadership in the White world is reminiscent of the Taoist reminder that good rulers make their subjects feel as if they succeeded by themselves. Environmental and social solutions can emerge only when local people are empowered and honored.

After participating in the debate and hearing all the different views, arguments, propositions, counterarguments and the overall feedback:

(1) Summarize in 400 words what makes the new project of the Pink Lake City in Senegal a sustainable one according to the value system of the Whites.

(2) Write another 400 words on issues that the city plan fails to address according to the value system of the Whites.

(Sustainable Development in Cities, USP 514 Class Discussion)


7 thoughts on “Sustainability Debate – The Whites

  1. 1. I started this project on the red team. While I still believe in a lot of what the red team had to offer, I feel that for this particular project the white team is where I want to be. According to the values of the white team, “informed people can solve their own problems.” I think that if this project were presented in its current state to the people of Senegal, assuming they were included in the process, they could successfully work out any underlying issues or troubles it has. And based on the information we got, it does seem like they will be included. You can’t really have an entire section of the city devoted to the people of Senegal without including them in the process. The values of the white team are very people-centric. As long as the people are involved, educated, and understanding, the project will be a success. Social issues may arise, but the people will put forth a local and effective solution. Business issues may arise, but not by any fault of the people running those businesses. Regardless, they will work to come up with a solution that benefits all equally. Lastly, environmental issues are incredible region specific. Who better to address any environmental issues of the region and this project than the people who live there? As long as the local people are heavily involved, this project will be just fine.

    2. While I feel that this plan could be successful, I feel that there is a different question we should be asking. That question is should this project even be built? There could be many potential benefits, but are any of those really worth the cost of likely destroying a rare natural resource? My thinking for this involves aspects of all the teams, which is why I feel like I belong on the white team now. This plan may address social inequality, potential environmental changes, and market gains or losses, or other issues that arise with the building of a city, but is there really a need for any of that? Any issues that could arise could be avoided simply by not building this project. A project like this could be catastrophic for something like the pink lake and the surrounding areas. Even if the project itself is environmentally friendly, the people won’t be. The newcomers will trash the pink lake, even if they don’t mean to. As for social issues, will the people who live there now (even if there are only a few of them), be pushed out? Will income inequality rise with the desirability of the project? Even with Senegalese people spearheading the project, there might not be the willpower to hold people in higher regard than money. Which is where potential issues with capitalism and business arise. The introduction of such a seemingly western plan could be culturally catastrophic. It could lead to a whole host of terrible things, including more environmental damage and more social inequality. Ultimately, I feel like this plan shouldn’t go through. It won’t be good for the people, and that goes against white values.


  2. The Pink Lake City in proposed in Senegal is unique in its kind in the way that is fosters different components of the parts of like that are important to the citizens of Africa. These different components are divided across the city and ultimately come together as one to become the newest world class city. Senegal is known for its true democratic government and it is a great example of what a true multi party systems, making it an ideal place to implement such an innovative project. The governing body in Senegal will allow for all components of the Pink Lake City to work together cohesively as one and for the people to arise and be empowered due to the new development. Economically this is a solution that has raised from the financial problems many families in the area face as well as honoring the needs of the growing nearby city of Dakar. The local communities will greatly benefit from this project as it is a solution to a upcoming housing crisis in Dakar and addressing the economic issues the people in the area have been suffering through for years. The Pink Lake City is one that will be completely run through the local community, this is a positive aspect for multiple reasons. One of which is due to the fact that this economic stimulus will benefit the people of the area by empowering them to work hard and success and not only that they will also be able to live in the city because part of the master plan integrates middles income housing. The way in which this project is set up minimizes the possibility of lobbying due to the separation of the different aspects to the city as well as the heavy political agency influence such as the UN office. This feature of the Pink Lake City will hopefully allow some overview for the citizens and prevent the people being taken advantage of and exploiting the natural beauty of the area. Due to the fact that the pink lake is the main focal point of this project it indirectly ensures the protection of it. If the developers of this project fail to take care of the natural beauty of the area there is no project and the development loses the value and the purpose of making this area into a city. This development is an example of using natural beauty to the fullest while developing an area sustainably.

    The Pink Lake City is great under the assumption that the plan is executed with the needs to the people in mind, unfortunately there is an overwhelming history of outside developers using projects like this to implement their for profit agenda and as a result the people of the area are left used and unprotected from harm. The fact an outside corporation is developing this area as opposed to a local development company where it would truly know the value of the community dynamic and how the people of the area would react of certain aspects of the project. If this project was being developed by a local company, there would be a built in sense of protecting employees of this project and the different phases of this project could be implemented more naturally as opposed to making it seem like an artificial tourist attraction. The pink lake is also one of the biggest defining characteristics of Senegal and only a local development company could truly protect its beauty and ensure the environmental protection of this area not just the lake. It is unrealistic to expect no lobbying and capital concentration in a project as large as this one but however it is harder for people to lobby the developers and if they have some emotional attachment and pride to the area at hand. If this project is being developed will pay a significant role in the establishing Senegal as a major country and it would be even more impressive if this was done by people within the country, the people would be empowered and that sense of pride in the community will allow for more projects to be developed as well as showing other nations that their people have the abilities to create new cities without the help of large international contractors. Another concern is the strict divide of the different components of the city it will create issues with transportation and eventually lead to problems of inequality. Having parts of the city divided into categories will unintentionally create inequality within the parts of the city itself because some parts will be funded differently as and given more thought than others. Dividing the city into components will also create favoritism because there is no such thing as separate by equal. This project also raises the question of where the people already living in this area going to live, the project fails to include low income housing for those who need it and leads me to believe that not all are welcome and furthermore reveals more of the less obvious issues surrounding inequality.


  3. The Pink Lake Project aimed to integrate all social, environmental and economic components in the new city plan at South Africa. The Pink Lake obviously become the main feature of the new developed city, so massive travelers would be expected to visit the spectacular wonder every year. Also, I believe the city investment would provide better maintenance to the Pink Lake since the lake could make strong economic influence in the account of tourism industry of the city, and the government regulations toward the lake use would also be an efficient way to limit the harms to the environment of the Pink Lake. As my perspective, the maintenance should be preserved by ecological experts rather than natural process because scientific data could help us to implement our ideas more accurately. Moreover, the project was located at coastal region nearby Atlantic Ocean, and that could attract more business opportunities into the city since the convenience of coastal transportation were always big cooperation’s favors. The new sustainable development advocated western urban planning style, but at the same time it tried to preserve traditional African cultures by promoting African museums and art exhibitions. Somehow that could help to improve the living condition in the city at South Africa because in average most South Africa residents are living under the certain living standard. Also, local people could still celebrate their cultures by the government’s promotion. In which way I really appreciate their effort on social development in the Pink Lake Project. In terms of the sequence of the development phases, I feel the city plan actually tried to emerge the sustainable ideas to the city development. In the development sequences, the government focused on housing development at the first place, and then establish economic infrastructures as the second phase. The government understood the need of housing, so they try to work on it as the priority. However, they also understood that investments were necessary for a city development, so they had to attract more investments into the city ahead of some other development phase. Thirdly, education shows the matters on the success of cities development because more people who got education would have less chances to become obstacles to the society since they mostly could support themselves if they have enough educations, and that would even push the society more forward. Afterward, the entertainment infrastructure would help to build up higher reputation for the new developed city, and the traditional culture reinforcement come to the last phase because that would not hurt the city plan in a short term. Therefore, I think the Pink Lake project actually covered most of the sustainable concepts into the account since it tried it’s best to find balance all three sustainable components.
    On the other hand, the Pink Lake project somehow failed to address different problems on their city plan. According to the video, the city plan barely mentioned about the transportation infrastructure implementation. I could not stop asking myself how each part of the city connected and corresponded since there lacked of long term transportations planning. Moreover, establishing transportations system does not just mean to have streets and highway in the city, but it was more about increase the mobility in the city. Therefore, transportation usually needs prior planning even before the urban zoning planning. However, the projects might have added after they thought of the city plan, but I still thought that was still too late to consider this part since that definitely hurt the integration of the whole city planning and development. Besides that, I personally don’t like the layout of the city plan since I feel each part was too segregated. Even though each neighborhood had their own mix-used development for their local residents’ conveniences, different phases of the city development was too separated with each other. For example, the local people may be very easy to get new clothes around their homes, but they could not really reach the sport stadium if that’s too far away. As my perspective, I prefer residential land use to emerge into most city’s lands marks because I wanted to save the greatest fluency to local residents because they were the major core of the city development. Moreover, I wonder if the people who have already lived in there could accept and correspond to such as big society change in a short-term of period. So many new types of industries would pop up and those previous residents may not have enough preparation to cope with the new economic challenge. The government should consider to provide more assistance to local residents, such as skill training and employment regulation, in order to make sure the local residents could also get benefits from the massive development. Furthermore, since the project was an international cooperation, Capitalism ideas must be included into the account of the whole development. I would be concerned about the actual affordability of the city once most parts of the constructions were done. How the city government to find a balance between those three components would be another long-term challenge for the project.


  4. From my “white” perspective I think this project is sustainable because there is no one person or forcing this project down the community’s throat. The government is proposing this project and looking for funding in order to empower the local people in western Senegal. The government knows that society thrives and becomes sustainable when local people feel empowered. This Project will provide hundreds if not thousands of higher paying jobs to the Senegalese people, which will allow them to feel comfortable and empowered. This project is also beneficial because it proposes the building of modern schools. The communities around Senegal and West Africa can not be expected to know how to solve any environmental issue if they are not educated about them. The tax dollars generated from the new businesses in this project, along with tourism, could potentially be used to build green energy projects for the rest of the cities in Senegal. The tax dollars can also be used to improve our clean water, waste, and sewer management systems in areas of the country that are less developed. This new city will also help preserve and inform tourists about local Senegalese culture through a variety of museums and art centers.

    From my “white” perspective the things I do not like and/or are not sustainable are as follows. I would like to see governments focused and operating on as local of a level as possible. This new plan calls for the construction of a building to contain a division of the United Nations. The United Nations organization is strongly controlled by a western, capitalistic, pro-industry ideology, and they have a lot of power. I fear that a UN presence in Senegal might lead to them having too much influence in how the country operates. Foreigners at the UN, unlike locals do not know what is best for Senegal (socially, environmentally, economically) and therefore should not be involved in this plan. One environmental concern I have about this project is that it has several large highways which may encourage citizens to use cars more often, which in turn will lead to a greater dependence on fossil fuels. Some of the buildings that are proposed are very large and very expensive looking. I hope that environmentally friendly building materials will be used. I am also concerned that most of the Senegalese people will not be able to afford to live in this new luxurious city. I would need to see a concrete plan to integrate lower income citizens into this city in a sustainable way.


  5. 1. I originally chose the White team and I still want to be in the White team. The Pink Lake City project at Senegal is sustainable according to the value system of the white team, which is that “process will win the day.” In other words, people would be able to learn and educate themselves through the process of developments. The project is socially sustainable because it includes mixed income housing that allow people to share the beauty of the project. The new development includes great concepts such as “Brian City” and “African Cultural City” in which it would increase and encourage social interactions. More programs and activities that not only values African cultures but also allow opportunities for new residents to explore and to experience. This project is also economically sustainable because it is a new development project that would create many construction jobs and permanent jobs. The project also built coalition with surrounding firms which greatly strengthen the city’s economic forces. Moreover, this project also meant to attract international investments, in which would bring benefits that are far beyond the project site. International firms might expand their investments and be the strong support of the project. On the environmental level, Pink Lake is the main focus of this project. Pink Lake would need to be well-protected in order to keep the project alive. All other environmental issue should be local and it will be addressed by the residents of the area. They would be the best to know how to deal with specific local environmental issues. Overall, this project appears to be sustainable through the white team’s value.

    2. Although this project seems to be a successful sustainable project, there are still some issues that the city plan fails to address according to the value system of the White team. First of all, residents of the original site would be pushed out, and it could negatively impact their lives as if they would be displaced. In terms of the social issue, it is hard to predict the composition of the pink lake city population in the long term. As more people moved in, the demographic of the city could change overtime. More social issues might occur such as racial tension and income inequality might rise. On environmental level, we have to accept the fact that every physical project would have environmental impact of its site. Pink Lake would for sure be better without the development project that is being built around it. Tourist and residents of the city could also have destroyed the natural resources in a more frequent rate. Furthermore, relying on the foreign investment could also be dangerous for the city plan. Non-local developers would not be familiar with the project site features and its people. The current projects are divided into five phrases and it take a very long period of time to complete. People who first moved in could have the “ghost town” experience similar to the situations in emerging edge cities in China. If eventually, there are not enough population as to keep the city alive, then the project could suffer from lack of funding and supports while they are still in process of constructions. In addition, it could be very hard to attract people to move in before all five phrases are done. People would not want to be the first to move in the “bedroom community” and wait for other 4 phrases to happen.


  6. I started my debate on the white team and as of today I feel like I belong in the white team. I believe for a perfect sustainable project is that it has to include and cover all major areas as whole. That’s project shouldn’t worry about just one area, but it should cover many parts of it that can improve people’s lives. I don’t see myself as green for example, because they only cared about making the world a better place for nature. As white member we don’t believe in the ideology of nature, but rather of how saving the ecosystem will impact people’s lives and how are they being affected from the environmental changes. One thing that makes the pink lake city in Senegal sustainable for the white team it’s how balance the project of making the city. The project covers 5 concepts of creating a master city and its based on resolving the issues that cities in Africa faces. The project covers all areas that people need the most in living in a prosper city. I really like that they care about people’s wellbeing by having a wellness health resort in the city. In order to have positive lifestyle in a new city, a city has to offer many health benefits to its residents. The political body stability offers its people democracy and a chance for participation. For a sustainable city, it shouldn’t have one ruler that tells others what to do, but rather have people to collaborate and vote on what they want. The city offers work class education to its people, it is important for people in Africa to have more education and building a world class university in the city that the continent lacks on. It also offers beautiful environment and scenery to its people that they can visit and enjoy themselves. I really love that the city will integrate a cultural life on their African culture and where they came from. I think in building a city, culture and diversity makes a city successful because a sustainable city should be about intersections and getting together as a community and to know each other, rather than just having outsiders without a social life. In other words, a city without a culture and identity, will be boring and depressing and will negatively impact the lives of people in the city.Overall, if the program wants to build an international city, they need to have a sense of identity and as long as they offer diversity, art and cultural events, it will make people to express their ideas and create interactions that will drive in making a city a success
    While I believe the city will be a success, the city will face the same issue as many popular cities faces nowadays which is gentrification. I believe a city like the pink lace city in Senegal will become an expensive city to live in for its people based on what they offer. They offer way to many opportunities and beautiful landmarks in the city that there will be to many people that would want to move there. Not to mention that it seems like it’s going to be a touristic city as well where a lot of people are going to visit and it’s going to be almost impossible to live there. Not to mention that it’s a also going to have a world class university that it will make people over the world want to live there and pursue their education in Senegal. The critical question comes to mind is how many people from a Africa are going toasty ally live in the city and will it become a foreign city rather then just a city that propose to solves the issues in Africa, but I think it will solve the issues of living across the world rather then in Africa. What’s the point of even having African culture and events when people of Africa don’t even live in the city or can’t afford to live in a modern expensive city. However, there is hope in the project because the project will offer housing for low income people in Africa and if it’s that the case they should keep it that way, and the city has to fight and aid them in keeping those people residing in the city. A city will not be sustainable if there are only people with money living in a city because it will create false vision and advertisment. How would someone feel if an individual live a city in Africa, but there are few people from Africa living there, it will its own solitary unstable city with no identity.


  7. (1) Summarize in 400 words what makes the new project of the Pink Lake City in Senegal a sustainable one according to the value system of the Whites.
    I started off with the white group and remained with the white group. The Pink Lake City project in Senegal is sustainable according to value of the whites because there is a balance. When first looking at the map of the project, there is a distribution of all the communities and the five focus points. The project does not focus on one specific aspect but instead five different ones; there is the wellness which provides the housing and allows people to interact with nature, the business city, brain city, city of sport, and the cultural city. This a self sustaining city and allows its people living within it to govern and dictate how it is ran. With various aspects of a community the people can go and seek education and entertainment when they would like to. There is variety and choice which I feel is a major component of the White value system. The city can only be as good as the people that live in it. From the debates in class, I got the impression the city would be run by the people who live there. As long as the people are environmentally conscious and aware of what is going on, and people are treated properly the city will properly function. Another component that makes the Pink Lake City project sustainable is that it is not being forced upon the people. Those who have developed and proposed the project seem to be working with local government officials to design a project that is suitable for the region and the people living there. The white ideology that is optimistic comes into play here because they feel that this project will work for Senegal. Any problem that does arise will be easily solved because whites believe that informed people can solve their own problems. With so many different beacons of knowledge in the city, people can easily become educated.
    (2) Write another 400 words on issues that the city plan fails to address according to the value system of the Whites.
    Though the project may seem ideal, its fails to address certain aspects that support a Whites core lifestyle practices. I think the biggest issue is gentrification which is major deal according right now throughout the country. I would assume that those living there in the destined to be new city are locals who are not seen as wealthy. So once the new construction begins they will be forced to move out to other places due to the high prices that most of them will not be able to afford. During the presentation that was not addressed, what would happen to those currently living in the desired land and where they would be moved to. Another problem is that because Pink Lake has so much offer that it will become a serious tourist location, instead of a community for people to live in. Or even a vacation spot that wealthier people come to visit throughout the year. I feel that this city can be sustainable but it has many downfalls that have social issues that go against the whites belief system. As the green group mentioned during the debate, there was no means of transportation to the different regions and I feel that is very important because you do not want to be stuck trying to move from area to area. A system such as Bart could be useful and that was not mentioned in the presentation. Lastly, being built on the water, there was no talk on how the increase of pollution and the effects of global warming increasing the sea level having an direct effect on the city of Pink Lake. With the increase of sea level, the city can be damaged and experience intense flooding and destruction.


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