Monday, June 14, 2010

The Promise of Belvedere

We are hitting bumps in the road. Our community is fed by a fiber-optic system for the internet and television. It apparently is an optimal way to receive digital information. I am not really sure how to describe it since I don't watch television regularly. I do, however, use the internet and have left the hardware parts up to my savvy husband (that guy is amazing.). Anyway, the television system has been inconsistent. It keeps going down. The residents are frustrated and everyone is meeting this week to work it out. There are several pieces of it that aren't communicating well with other pieces of it. We hope to work it out this week.

One of the letters that was posted on our community internet board really touched me. The resident said that the promise of Belvedere was (maybe is!) is that it offered a high tech community with connection to people and nature. That comment kind of stunned me for awhile. I am trained to connect children to nature. I have offered programs for years and most people who have participated or who are drawn to nature have opinions about technology. Some of them are downright negative, on how technology, especially television and computers are evil, but most folks have tried hard to put firm boundaries on this kind of media so that it doesn't dominate the lives of the children. Here is a development company trying to offer a package with both nature and technology.

Regardless of the snafu with the television, which I am sure will get worked out because the residents won't put up with anything less, I do think it is hard to offer both at the same time. In the past, in the communities I have circled around in (nature-based, alternative education), these two are like pushing magnets together that naturally repel. So I sit back on my heels a second and wonder, is the company who designed this aware that these can be opposites? And, we are going to do this, this combination of technology and nature-connection, and isn't that cool?

And it's hard.

For a long time, we have lived very separate from nature as a culture. In fact, nature was something the dominate and subdue. So, our adventure continues. We now have 30 homes and are about to redesign the parks. I hope I can stay with this process.