Monday, August 17, 2009

Who's In Charge Here??

As Pluto stations direct on 0 degrees Capricorn...

I was at the downtown mall where I used to work yesterday to do a reading. I like to do readings in this secluded third floor food court area. It's usually fairly deserted on weekends and weekday afternoons.

I hadn't been to the mall in a while, but what I saw was pretty unbelievable. It looked like a straight-up construction site. Everything was blocked off. Scaffolding everywhere. The spaces of the stores that were forced out sit empty and shuttered. The entire third and fourth floors of the mall were almost unusable. The food court where I used to do readings was blocked off. I'm not even sure it still exists. It was chaos. Very uncomfortable (next to impossible, really) for the merchants who are still trying to do business in all that mess.

I looked in the faces of the construction workers (working on a Sunday), and they all looked completely exhausted and miserable.

The idiocy of this construction project continues to disgust me. Who does all this benefit, exactly? A super-gentrified downtown mall with the world's biggest skylight ceiling! Is this really the best use of the energy of these times? To create even more class segregation in this town? Doesn't sound very Aquarian to me.

Come one, come all to Calgary, Alberta. We have the biggest glass ceiling in the world! hahaha Symbolic, isn't it?

They've run most of the independent businesses out of the mall in favour of chain stores, so much that was unique to this city is gone. What you'll find at the end of this process is the same bland, corporatized mall (with delusions of grandeur) you'll find in any big city. It's interchangeable - Vancouver, Toronto, Atlanta, Houston, Miami...whatever. It follows the same plans to cater to the same small segment of clean, cleansed luxury patrons. The rest of the people who live and work downtown be damned, apparently.

Haven't these top-heavy, short-sighted projects run out of steam yet?

From the looks of the construction workers shouldering the burden of the ill-conceived plans...just about.

The time and resources they're willing to put into catering to the rich is truly unbelievable, handicapping downtown commerce for over a year to push this corporate agenda forward. It boggles the mind what a waste it all so much more could be done to build REAL community downtown if the people making the decisions had any actual vision.

Calgary takes up as much land mass as New York City despite having 1/9 the population. Sprawl on top of sprawl. And the sky-high property taxes that go along with trying to provide city services to all that sprawl.

The downtown is the core of a city. For anyone who has done a lot of Pluto/Scorp work, you know how important the core is. It's crucial. Everything emanates from there. So the corporate homogenization going on in so many city downtowns these days isn't harmless. Energetically, it's catastrophic to make the downtown core so segmented, so ungrounded, so uninhabitable to the majority of people. It doesn't make for a healthy, sustainable, functioning city over the long run.

The current policies that favour this corporate homogenization over diversity and real service to the people who live and work downtown continue the degradation of the core.

And as a result, the city will continue to try to run from itself, expanding outward and trying to get away from the core issues, instead of strengthening from the inside out.

Again, Pluto and Scorpio teach us the error in trying to run from our core instead of standing in it, holding it, and dealing with whatever problems lie there. A strong, healthy core is a necessity. It's the root of a person and the root of a city.

The city reflects the populace and the populace reflects the city, I guess. People here choose most often to live in the corporate maze, moving from one distraction to another (usually money-oriented), rather than doing the nitty gritty work. They can only go so far until something snaps them back to face reality.

I don't believe in clinging to the past, but this is not what I want to see in the future...

No comments: