Urban planners miss the plot

The tale of local communities losing energy and activities, told by Amy Chavez in her Sept. 21 article, “The ancient pilgrimage routes and the local community,” is disheartening. If I were hyperactive, I’d immediately go to clear pilgrimage paths with Ms. Chavez. But the true solution would be to halt the urbanization of society.

Months ago The Japan Times printed an article by several academicians from around the world who happily predicted a future in which mankind is even more concentrated in mega-cities. Did they even know what they were talking about?

Massive construction of urban infrastructure fails to alleviate the huge pressures from a growing urban population and is no match for the ever-increasing violence of Mother Nature.

The future of our society cannot be entrusted to irresponsible elites who don’t know the reality of lives on the ground, and have never had to deal with disposing of the trash and excrement they produce, let alone produce the foods and energy they consume.

Those sensible enough to recognize the vulnerability of big cities to the problems of an over-ripe civilization and of increasingly freakish global weather conditions would gladly abandon their city lives and move to rural areas if there were decent work opportunities. The richness of nature could provide those opportunities if we put our wisdom into full play — free of the preoccupation with monetary value.

Rural life would cure many mentally ailing city-dwellers. It would also provide opportunities to those who feel their creativity drying up. In cities, where you pay money for all your needs, it is difficult to find a sense of achievement. In rural life, you can get a sense of achievement, for example, from cutting down bamboo that has grown in an inconvenient place, working bamboo crafts, baking sweet potatoes in a fire of bamboo leaves, or building a cottage.

keisuke akita
kakamigahara, gifu

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.