Monday, August 13, 2007

Thinking About Long Island

What is Long Island? 

A geographic region to be sure.  A series of interconnecting communities or a series of random communities? A place to come from or a destination? 

There are many ways to view Long Island.

But how about Long Island as an idea? Not as a means to an end but an end in and of itself?

We need to think of Long Island comprehensively rather than as a series of issues to be addressed or problems to be solved.  We must think of how one issue influences all relevant issues. 

Some might view those types of question as being obstructionist, that we are simply against building. This is not the case. We must have a comprehensive, long term approach to Long Island and the influence our decisions will  have on successive generation. 

In short, we need to use our intelligence and resources to think about and plan for what Long Island is and what it reasonably may become. Not just what we think it should be, but as a practical matter, what are our limitations and how do we overcome those limitations. How do we achieve balance.

We can never know how to achieve a balanced existence on Long Island unless we view Long Island as one entity, as a sort of "dynamic idea accelerator" which may have many moving parts (diversity creates a constant stream of new ideas), yet operates in a cooperative and positive manner.  We should not continue to rely on the "great man (person) theory" to find a solution to our problems. No one individual has all the answers.

We must also encourage our Long Island schools and universities to train our young people in the great possibilities of what Long Island can become. Not in an isolationist sort of way, but in a way that gets them thinking about how all the parts work on Long Island and how they can make them work in a better way. Because if they can do it in their own back yard, they can do it anywhere in the world.

The Long Island Congress and Long Island 3.0 attempt to offer some initial structure to this concept, to "create a pot" or "build a house"as it were to fill with whatever our imagination and abilities can conjure up and to create a new Long Island we can all be proud of. 

It won't be perfect and it is an ongoing process. But thinking about Long Island is a good first step and continued thinking will keep Long Island alive and well as a region, an idea or both.

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