The Landscape Debate


The Blues are mainstream free-marketers. Such people have a positive bias toward the future based on technological optimism and the strength of the economy. They are armed with a strong statistical case, based on the vigorous and dynamic economies of Western and (until1998) Asian nations. Their approach is deeply rooted in conventional economics, and their number-crunching reveals a world vastly improved and rapidly ascending. Blues believe that reliance on innovation, investment, and individual freedom will ensure a shining future for humankind, and a level of material well-being that has strong appeal to virtually everyone in the world. Their optimism also extends to the environment, believing that in most cases, markets will send strong and appropriate price signals that will elicit timely responses, mitigating environmental damage or causing technological breakthroughs

The Reds represent the sundry forms of socialism. Although one might expect them to have been discredited by the downfall of the Soviet Union, their worldview is very much alive. They find validation in the chaotic and horrific economic conditions that the rise of bandit capitalism has brought to contemporary Russia, a country whose economic machinery now benefits a minority at the expense of a materially and socially disadvantaged majority. The growing and worldwide gap between rich and poor confirms the Reds’ analyses, which are as accurate about poverty and suffering as the Blues’ observations are accurate about growth and change. While Blues focus on the promise of growth and technology, Reds focus on its shadow and try to discern its root causes. They view labor—one aspect of human capital—as the principal source of wealth and see its exploitation as the basis of injustice, impoverishment, and ignorance. The Reds generally have little to say about the environment, seeing it as a distraction from fundamentally important social issues.

The Greens see the world primarily in terms of ecosystems, and thus concentrate on depletion, damage, pollution, and population growth. They focus on carrying capacity and want to bring about better under- standing of how large the economy can grow before it outstrips its host. Their policy focuses on how many and how much, the number of people, and the amount of impact each person can have upon the environment. Greens are not usually technophobes; most see technology as an important tool to reduce human impact. More recently, some have become interested in free-market mechanisms, and want externalities presently borne by society to be fully integrated into producer costs and consumer prices so that markets become, in David Korten’s phrase, “mindful.” The Greens, and to some extent the Reds, host bigger tents in that they hold a bolder and broader diversity of views. But this also keeps them splintered and self-canceling, as Greens tend to unite their enemies and divide their friends, a good formula for political failure. They are often portrayed as caring less for people than animals, more about halogenated compounds than waterborne diseases.

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.

With regards to the Master Plan of the new city in Senegal that was viewed in class. In one page, indicate if you are (WITH) or (AGAINST) the decision of building such a new city. You may support your overall argument using the mandates of any of the hats. It is also encouraged to comment on those who are on the other camp to discredit their arguments and support yours. Use the lecture notes, class material, the readings, … and any other scholarly references or professional reports.


The Debate Participants


10 thoughts on “The Landscape Debate

  1. I am against the decision of building the Pink Lake City in the coastal area of Senegal because the proposed design does not respond well to the existing conditions of the people, the natural environment or the culture of the place. The design is portrayed to be planned as a clean slate, wiping out whatever natural and built environment that exists there, which I do not agree with. The city has been described as an “International city,” where I would rather see it being a city for the people that are actually going to be living there.

    Although it claims to be sustainable, I think the design is flawed on all fronts of sustainability. It lacks economic sustainability because the design of the city seems expensive and probably not affordable by the local people. It is not clear where the funding is coming from. The infrastructure, housing, and businesses being proposed seem intended more for attracting affluent residents and visitors from other places. It lacks environmental sustainability because it is destroying the natural environment to introduce development. Coastal developments with views to the sea, and lakefront developments are all encroaching upon important natural habitat. It is not taking facts such as sea level rise and deforestation into account, because the coastal development could well be flooded in a matter of years, forcing people to migrate inwards, and causing great environmental and economic loss. The planned development is also inconsiderate of the existing means of livelihood of the people currently residing there. Thus, it also lacks social sustainability, since the design has great likelihood of creating social divisions and gentrification due to the displacement of the local population by affluent people migrating in for the upgraded lifestyle that has been promised.

    The proposed development has been segregated into distinct zones with specific functions such as healthcare resorts, business areas, educational areas, athletic areas, and cultural center. These areas have been planned in phases that do not support a localized integration of uses. For instance, the cultural hub, which is the fifth stage, seems secluded from the rest of the city when culture should have been integrated into all of the aspects of the people’s lives. Poverty is an issue in Senegal, so if the people who will be using it will not have the means of affording the development, then where will they go? How will the city sustain itself? And how will the other phases be built? This project reminds me of the urban expressways that Robert Moses tried to introduce in New York, which cut through people’s neighborhoods and disrupted their lifestyles and livelihood. The Pink Lake City seems like it is proposing to demolish whatever exists and build a Utopian city from scratch. The design is said to provide economic growth and enhance the standard of living. However, a city is not just infrastructure and economy. The urban fabric of a city is made of people, communities, culture, and the interactions they have with each other and the surroundings. The Pink Lake area in Senegal has great natural and cultural opportunities, which the proposed development does not do a good job in embracing.

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  2. The proposed master plan for the new city in Senegal surrounding the famous and attractive Pink Lake, is inadequate. The plan is not considering many important aspects that is needed to create a successful, sustainable, and modern city. This is why I am against the proposal of the development:

    1. The plan is divided up into five phases all of which have different names and different design intentions. This is the first critique of the project. Because the project is divided up “strategically” as the promotional video would consider it, it is actually creating completely different segments of the city. All of these pieces are not working together to create a cohesive place. There should not be one section of the city that is just business, cultural, or just for wellness. This concept seems Utopian and not backed-up by good reasoning. Even if the master plan intends to intermingle all of the concepts throughout the city, it is not shown throughout the video, proposal document, and land use plan.

    2. Secondly, the project does not take the existing population into consideration. The proposal documents never acknowledge existing photos of the site, talk about existing living conditions or show any of the real people living in Senegal. Instead they capitalize on generic images of cultural activities, water sports, and the opportunity the city has for growth. Presenting this project as a “new slate” is not realistic. The plan does not protect current residents during construction or put it into the current phasing plan. The city is at risk for becoming gentrified, expanding economy for the rich while pushing the poor to another location.

    3. As a transition from the last point, the new development is for, and only for, the rich who can come to the “Pink Lake City.” The economic growth that they are hoping for is in tourism. Although increasing international awareness about Senegal is a good idea, creating a project for only tourists without any authentic cultural integration is a bad idea. Tourists will began coming to the city, increasing economic wealth while also pushing out the native culture and habitat for animals.

    4. On that note, nothing is being done to protect the environment with this proposal. Increasing waterfront activities on the ocean and water activities on the lake is going to alter the way those ecosystems work. In addition to the water systems, the city is surrounded by forests. The ecosystems within those forest are also going to change has development is built right up to the edge and looking into the future, the development could sprawl into those forests. The promotional video did not mention any mitigation techniques about conserving forests or water ecosystems, what will happen when the sea level rises, or about educating visitors about the ecosystems that are there. These are all missed opportunities on the developer’s behalf.

    5. Lastly, nothing is being supported with statistical facts or policies. How are they going to fund such a grand project? How much will a project like this cost? Who will have to pay? Especially if there is a tax increase for the entire city. There are no sustainability facts about energy conservation, how much revenue will be saved by using techniques to treat and recycle water, or with solar panels. Also, who will build this development? Likely the poor who need jobs and the money. This is not promoting social equity. Overall, it appears the government has proposed this plan without thinking about the smaller scale of government and its people. The “Pink Lake City” in Senegal has a lot of opportunity to do great things in this community but the entire plan needs to be rethought to be socially, economically, and environmentally successful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am against the building of the masterplan for the Pink Lake City in Senegal for several reasons. While the plan aims to bring revenue to the area and capitalize on the natural beauty of the lake, it fails to mention specific tactics and policies that will help the PLC succeed. It seeks to bring international attention to the area through educational systems, business and wellness centers. While the plan revolves around the pink lake, it does not take sustainability into account. Most of the plan consists of an idealistic utopian vision that will be unlikely to succeed.

    While the plan aims to bring money to the area and provides areas of affordable housing, it is unclear if the local residents will be able to afford it. The plan proposes many bold strokes that seem unsustainable. A mix of large and small business should be introduced over time rather than a host of large resorts and facilities. The compartmentalization of the businesses, residential and park areas leaves little room for growth. When things don’t go as planned, the infrastructure will not be flexible enough to accommodate changes. This will ultimately lead to debt and urban decay. Since 50% of Senegal lives in poverty, it is unknown where funding for this project will come from.

    While the plan revolves around the lake, it doesn’t seem to be environmentally sustainable. It makes no mention of plans to accommodate for climate change and rising sea levels. The buildings have no plan for energy efficiency. The plan does not say how urban nature will be incorporated near the lake and what measures will be taken to protect the lake’s wildlife and ecology.

    Finally, the plan mentions using African culture as a tourism tool to drive activities and the style of the city. The residential building layout is to be designed in a mixture of African and European styles. There is even a plan for a cultural theme park so visitors can experience African culture. If cultural preservation was the real goal, the plan would focus more on designing the area in a respectful way that was beneficial for the existing residents. Exploiting a culture for the enjoyment of tourists does not seem like the best way to preserve it. I worry that the project will do the opposite and erase the unique culture of the area and hurt the current residents.

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  4. I am part of the group that is against the proposed design of the Senegal Pink Lake City Project. Initially looking from the point of view of the green team with an environmental focus, I developed an argument around that aspect of the design. The project itself tries to emphasize the existing conditions of Senegal, describing it as one of the most politically stable areas of Africa with abundant resources and a great international reach through amicable relationships and university education. The design proposed five different concepts with different focuses in the development: The Wellness City, African Business City, The Brain City, The Sport and Arts
    And African Culture City. The ecology of the area is distinctly unique and special to the region, as Africa is described as “the last blue ocean” of the world, and the regional waterway contains more salinity that of the famed Dead Sea.

    From an environmental standpoint, the project does almost nothing to protect and preserve the existing ecology of the area, and instead favors destruction and human domination. The focus of the design, the Pink Lake, is physically at the center of the design focus, but discourages the health of the lake by allowing contaminants to build up from the surrounding potential runoff. The build-up of development around this area will not only limit the habitat for animals and native plants in the area, but the increase in population from all the housing and amenities will result in pressure on local environmental resources. Some of the only focuses of native ecology and environmental focus in the design are directly related to human-focused design and development, as shown in two of the different “cities”. The Wellness City talks about utilizing views of nature to aid feelings of leisure and healing, but otherwise showed almost no green space to support that concept. In the African Culture City, the proposal talks about implementing a botanical garden within the theme park and art shop, but had a horticultural focus that further defined the idea on how nature could provide for the community instead of how the community can enhance the local ecology around it.

    Overall, the project should not be implemented because it does not focus on sustainable future growth of the area. While at the moment the design may sound promising to promote economic growth within the community, the city does not accommodate for future growth and I believe an alternative plan would be more sustainable and would take into account more environmental factors for a longer-lasting city,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am against the master plan proposal for the new city of Senegal. The plan lacks information and does not efficiently represent the local people living in this location, the environment, or the existing culture. The idea behind the plan is to integrate a design that supports political stability, diverse cultures, education, business, nature, and wellness. The proposal seems to solve many problems and gives the impression that it will have a positive impact, but it’s too good to be true. The information presented lacks depth and reasoning. I am analyzing the proposal through the eyes of someone of the “Greens” team, meaning that I concentrate on the depletion, damage, and pollution of surrounding ecosystems and the negative implications of population growth. The Master Plan for the New City of Senegal does not consider the environment. The video states that the plan works towards connecting people to the environment and emphasizes views to nature, but it is not described with any more detail.

    My group decided that this design would ruin the environment. The way the structures would be implemented would chop the ecosystems and divide them into separate pieces that would not support native vegetation and animals living in the area. The team that support this design stated that it was just a small section of land that would be destroyed, and it doesn’t matter. But if every developer had this mindset, there would be no preservation of ecosystems or consideration of the surrounding environment. The construction of that many structures near the waterfront would increase runoff and pollution contaminating Pink Lake. This design is built in sections with no integration between the different uses. The proposal transforms the site and attracts new people, this will eventually lead to gentrification and people with a lower income will not be able to benefit from the different opportunities. It was stated within the debate that the proposal doesn’t support future development and will create a utopia for high-class, rich people. People who are only focused on the economy and socialism may feel as if it will reduce poverty by giving people the opportunity for people to build their way up. The group that supported this proposal believe this design would provide good infrastructure and give people a chance to work together in the community, as well as, support diversity and suit the needs of a variety of people.

    The proposal for the Senegal is not sustainable for all people or the environment, but this may not be recognized without proper education or ecological mindset.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The plan for the new city in Senegal features a lot of benefits that will help the city to become an economic, social, and environmental hub for the future. From the blue’s point of view the new city is futuristic and creates a hub of commerce with will grow business and lead to economic growth. The new plan mimics the development pattern of other successful cities in the United States, and other developing countries in the middle east, like Qatar and Dubai. The amenities provided in the development and the quality of architecture will create a high quality of life for its residents.
    From the reds prospective the plan creates spaces for people of all social classes to live and function in community with one another. A new pattern of international schools and universities will provide good opportunities for people of all income groups. The plan also includes a green network that provides exposure to green space for all and creates social gathering spaces within the city. The plan also creates both temporary jobs over the 10 year construction plan for the project, and permeant jobs in the new resorts, shops and within the business core. Social equity is encouraged in this plan by providing a high number of low income housing options mixed in with the higher income and report housing.
    The green should also be satisfied by this plan because the lake is the central focus of the development and it will be used in an ecologically responsible way. The density of the development will accommodate a lot of functions in a small area, which will allow the surrounding areas to be conserved, rather than a sprawling development that would deteriorate the entire area. The green network will also serve as an ecological network that handles the cities storm water runoff. Concentrating members of the public will help prevent the illegal activities that are currently damaging the fauna and flora of the region.
    The balance between social, economic, and ecological benefits will satisfy the desires of the whites. This solution has something for everyone, several housing options will accommodate people of all income levels. The new plan also encourages diversity which will encourage social equity. Green networks provide opportunities for social interaction and provide ecological benefits for the city. The business hub will promote economic health and create a lot of jobs for citizens. Concentrating the development in one area will allow the other areas to be conserved. The new city will also provide a place for all of the people who live in small villages to come together to create a rich and culturally diverse city with a lot more resources than the villages would have on their own.

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  7. A Response to Senegal:

    To preface my vote for the Pink City in Senegal I want to zoom outside of northeastern Africa to a global scale. There are several lakes that are found throughout the world that are naturally pink in color, something to the tune of cotton candy or strawberry Trix yogurt, due to ‘Dunaliella salina’ algae that produce a red pigment to assist in absorbing light. A vast majority of these lakes are south of the equator found along coastal edges and have high concentrations of salt. Some notable candidates of comparison to Lake Retba in Africa are Hutt Lagoon and Lake Hillier in Western Australia and Las Coloradas, Mexico all of which share the fascinating color spectrum at different times of the year and are recognized tourist destinations. After looking through photographs or videos of these places it’s easy for anyone to make up your mind that they want to visit these places and take in the culture and become part of the place and get some great images to edit for their Instagram accounts.

    Bringing the topic back to a local scale, the Senegal community utilizes the pink lake as a natural resource, salt, that is farmed and sold as a source of income. The area around the site is often mistaken or miss representation as Lake Hillier which is heavily forested and almost artificial in nature. The area surrounding the Pink lake in Senegal is used to dry and sort the mineral crystals to produce grades of salt. Some of the highest grades of salt harvested are used in health spas in Europe and as a culinary spice, and the lower grades are shipped to similar places to de-ice roads in colder climates and what remains is dispersed amongst the workers in addition to their wage and is often used to season fish. There are already a handful of hotels that exist around the lake and along the coast, that have in-ground pools and separate themselves from the income of those working the lake. Along with this same vein, there are camel rides from surrounding towns, quad rentals that are along the beach and through the dunes, and 4×4 safari truck tours that are along the coastline as well. Each of these examples in and around the Pink Lake bank on the water colors allure to make extra money from tourists but don’t benefit or impact the lives of those working the lake either. It’s important to separate the lake and surrounding environment as an “ecology” and the quality of life of the people living in that place.

    There is a recurring cycle that has lasted generations that will eventually no longer be feasible as a source of income. The proposal for the Pink Lake City is a broad campaign for an idealized utopia in a relatively underdeveloped place in the world it does provide a way out for those in that place. The proposal brings light to a place that is shadowed by a more developed parts of the same region. Admittingly, I don’t believe in the current project proposal, I do feel the continuation of investigating sites in Africa can benefit the locals’ population and incomes from the bottom up.

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  8. During the debate on November 15th, I voted to be against the decision of voting for the new Senegal master plan to be built. During the debate, I was considered a White Hat. Some of the characteristics of a white hat include, preferring to take the middle ground and not thinking one way is completely right, empowering the local people of a community, empowering the local level of government, believing that informed people can solve their own problems, and rejecting ideology.

    The new master plan of Senegal wanted to blend three cultures that are found there, which are African, European and Islamic cultures. There was to be five zones within the city, Wellness City, African Business City, The Brain City, City of Sport and Art, and The African Cultural City. The Wellness City would be where healthcare resorts were located, private hospitals, and some residential/shopping options. The African Business City is the business sector of the city, and a mix of shopping malls. The Brain City is where the education complexes are located and campus association corporations. The City of Sport and Art is where the sports stadiums, cultural centers, and townhouses for athletes are located. Lastly, the African Cultural City is where a cultural theme park, art shop, mall and African botanical garden are located.

    I was a part of the group who were against the establishment of Senegal. Our argument was that the new plan didn’t take into consideration what the local people wanted, and they didn’t seem to have a local government established to continue to run the city once it was built Also, there seemed to be no integration between the multiple cultural aspects that were said to be a main focus of the city. The land use map of each area needs to be better integrated for the community to be able to be sustainable. The plan doesn’t correspond with the natural environment and seems to just be working with a “clean slate,” which is terrible for any native vegetation or animals found in this region. Lastly, because of only this region being the focus, gentrification would take a toll on the city of Senegal sending many of the locals away, because of the expense that it would take to live there.

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  9. The proposal for this new city is meant to bring prosperity to the country and create an international identity that people will be interested in. I am in favor of this city being built as I believe it is a good opportunity to start creating a new prosperous area that also tries to hold its cultural and historic ties. From different perspectives, there are some problems with how the proposal is approached, but the context of the Senegal and the goal of this project make a standing argument for the proposal of this new city. The social, and economic opportunity that can come from this project can prove to further develop the country overall.

    The capitalists view of this proposal is what gives strength to the argument in favor of the proposal. The economic opportunities will increase immensely by this new city. Creating a large hub for businesses, athletes, and tourism gives the country a more significant international identity, allowing more trade from outside developers. The city also provides a wide range of jobs and roles for local citizens to pursue. There is room for equal opportunity so that the city is not just a hub for the higher-class citizens. Although the city is made to attract the wealthy from other cities and nations, it can still provide opportunity for expansion so that the lower classes can also prosper from this significant project.

    The environmentalists argue that the development is too large and will destroy the natural habitat around the lake. Although this is designed to be a highly developed area, it is a small portion of land and will not have a large impact on the country’s environmental integrity. There are many areas within the country that are already protected by the government and preserve large natural habitats. The area in which the city is being proposed already has some modern development, including a few small hotels and a camping site. There are also no large settlements within the proposal areas save for a small village that further south from the lake. While the city might encroach some onto this village property it will not overwhelm the area with the development.
    The city also seeks to preserve the cultural identity of the country while also striving to move the people forward into a more modern development. The educational and research facilities within the new development give the country a way to contribute to the overall well-being of the environment, and share information with the rest of the world. Education of both future development and historical context are important to developing society. Creating a cultural center will keep the traditions of the country and educate visitors on the history and culture of the local people.

    Overall, I think the proposal will benefit the people and the country despite some environmental concerns. The balance between economic and environmental sustainability is important to create a more developed society. Increasing economic and academic prosperity will help us advance our ability to improve social and environmental developments in the future. The capitalist perspective of this proposal has the best argument for the benefits that this city will bring to the rest of the country. Although the process and time period will put some strain on the environment and people, I think the prosperity and education brought by this development will prove to be an improvement.

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  10. I am against the approval of the Senegal Master Plan. The area surrounding the Pink Lake is forest and villages. The context is a precious resource that would be demolished for the benefit of outsiders more than the local communities. These communities probably have been there for many generations and the change that would occur if the plan was approved would be significant. The plan is suggesting there would be diverse culture and be a diplomatic and economic benefit. These benefits would only be to those who have wealth. The plan wants to include 66 embassies that would enhance the “diversity”. The only diversity this would bring is in ethnicities, but not in social diversity. It is believed that the Master Plan would bring political stability to Senegal because of the introduced multi-level government system, but I believe that the government would continue to be the same or benefit the wealthy foreigners compared to the locals.
    The master plan has a major focus on education. While focusing on education is important and should be a driving factor in the master plan, I believe that it will only benefit those who live directly in the community and that would be wealthy. This plan does not address existing factors like locals and ends up displacing them. This furthers the separation of social classes. As separation occurs so does the education. The plan has good intentions with the education agenda, but it would not work because the other factors are not being executed in the best way for all people.
    The last point I would like to touch on is how the Pink Lake Master Plan is sustainable. This plan is in no way sustainable or even taking the context into consideration. The plan is exploiting a natural rare resource. On top of exploiting the rare lake, the plan is contributing to mass deforestation. The current context shows the beauty of the forest and how it surrounds the lake, making it a striking feature. All of the building would bring in a lot of pollutants that currently are minimal or don’t exist. The lake is not near a city and doesn’t receive the direct effects of city pollutants, but this plan would ensure that it would. The sustainable aspect of the plan in the video was so briefly mentioned with no evidence to back it up, lead me to believe that they did not think about it in great detail.
    Overall, the Senegal Mast Plan would devastate a natural resource and cause deforestation contributing to the rising climate change. The lack of consideration for the locals and nature is appalling. The plan feels rushed with little research or thought put behind it. I believe this reflects how the President at the time handled the project before his term was up and should not be approved to advance.


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