Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Townscape afterthought

I wonder if the city government, which is after all the major partner with Land Securities in putting together this development project, has really insisted on strategic quality control in the management of such a major urban upheaval, to make sure that at every level decisions are implemented, including on the human relations level?

All too often information affecting shoppers and commuters has come out too little, too late, like the posters appearing a month after they were first needed. Cardiff's local authority is so keen to project a progressive competitive image to impress a waiting world, and has high ideals for its achievement, but there's often an unaccountable lag between formulation and delivery of ideas, as if work is done either frantically, or dead slow. Is the local authority really able to call its collaborators to account for their overly languid, and (in practice) indifferent attitude towards ensuring that citizens are kept in the know and on-side?

We live in a world obsessed with communication by every possible means, yet the quality of our communications, not to mention content often falls short of achieving its objectives, and can short sell the truth. The outcome is frustration and alienation. I see it in the church, I see it in the city, I hear and see it daily in the mass media. I too am most likely afflicted by the same malaise in some areas of my life. None of these concerns are impossible to address, but they do require an application of the will, total honesty, compassion in understanding, and belief that uniting people through times of great change is more valuable an objective than one powerful group getting things done, rendering everyone else as people being 'done to'.

I think the heart of the matter may be to do with participants' higher values, i.e. moral and spiritual aspirations. Do great leaders, architects, planners of projects have a sense of accountability to anything other than clients, investors, local authorities, government, the public? You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time. But you can't fool all of the people all of the time ... and you can't fool God - source of our being, ultimate reality. You can hide the truth from God, you can lie to God, but finally you're the one who suffers. Ultimately truth will out in relation to God if nobody else. If we practice truth in relation to God, it is less burdensome to practice it in all other relationships.

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