Monday, June 9, 2008

Collaborative Rationalism: Part One

Interesting article today on turning Long Island's downtowns into more interesting places to live and work.

Contained in the article is this quote:

“Everything is so interconnected, so you feel sometimes that you can’t fix anything until you fix everything,” said Mayor Ernest J. Strada of the village of Westbury, talking at one point about a zoning question, but really addressing a deeper issue — the lack of a central planning authority on Long Island, a problem that exists in many suburbs. Each of the more than 100 communities of Nassau and Suffolk Counties have zoning and planning agencies that govern development within their own borders."

Also in the paper today is Nassau County's interest in redeveloping 105 acres it owns in Bethpage. Perhaps someone will propose a "cool downtown" with "next generation" housing adjoining "21st Century" business opportunities. Time will tell.

Mayor Strada is correct in stating that "everything is interconnected." But then again, it always was. There's just more of it now.

Also true is the fact that there is no central planning authority on Long Island, but don't hold your breath waiting for one anytime soon. That would take almost an act of nature to accomplish.

What we can strive for and are attempting to strive for in the One Long Island series of idea is something akin to a new "collaborative rationalism."

If we define:



1. Reliance on reason as the best guide for belief and action.

2. Philosophy The theory that the exercise of reason, rather than experience, authority, or spiritual revelation, provides the primary basis for knowledge.


intr.v. col·lab·o·rat·ed, col·lab·o·rat·ing, col·lab·o·rates

1. To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.

then we may define "collaborative rationalism" as the act of working together for a common cause based on reason (facts, meta data , analysis etc) and furthermore using this "collaborative rationalism" as a basis for our Long Island Philosophy and the main driving force behind a better more sustainable future for Long Island.

So if there are 100 communities each with their own zoning map, there is no reason why we can not, as a first step create a "meta zoning map" of Long Island, using comparative mathematical formulae, algorithms to "pierce the maze" of zoning regulations and find equivalencies across Long Island.

For example a "B Zone and related regulations" in North Hempstead is equivalent what zone or zones in Smithtown?

It is a reasonable easy project to come up with a Long Island Meta Zoning map (or Long Island Comprehensive Meta-Planning Project or any one of a dozen similar names we might name this concept). It might not be perfect but is is doable and would be a useful first step.

More in part II.

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