Booksmart - Reports
By Steve Wiser. Wisteria Publications; 120 pp., $10.
You might have imagined how you will look in 25 years, but you may not have thought about how Louisville will change during that time. Architect Steve Wiser has, and he’s become a futurist in the process.
Demographic shifts happen every 20-25 years, and Louisville Metro is in one right now. Many current projects have completion dates in 2010. That’s Wiser’s starting point. Fast forward to 2035: What will Louisville and Southern Indiana look like then?
Past trends, from the growth of the suburbs in the 1960s to the downtown renaissance in the ’80s, have influenced the present. Mixing history with present data provides Wiser the means for an educated guess about the future. One prediction is an estimated 50,000 new residents by 2030.
Wiser compares 21st century parks with the Olmsted park system that changed where neighborhoods and businesses developed more than a century ago. West Louisville and Shippingport might be the city’s next trendy locations.
With the price of gas and shortage of oil the hot topics of the moment, Wiser sees street-rail transit and local access bridges as possible solutions.
The author has expanded on a few ideas since the publication of the book. He told LEO Weekly he has rethought the suggestion of the street-rail loop and may focus instead on a busway loop — lanes used only for buses. Pittsburgh and Denver have such systems. “This would provide more flexibility and cost less that a street railway system,” he says.
The book is available at both locations of Carmichael’s Bookstores, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, New Albany’s Destinations Booksellers and at www.wiserdesigns.com. —Jo Anne Triplett
Pearls, Politics and Power:
How Women Can Win and Lead
By Madeleine M. Kunin. Chelsea Green; 224 pp., $24.95.
“Pearls, Politics, and Power” is promoted as a “call to action for new political engagement and leadership from women of America.” In other words, a manual for how to get involved.
But I found that the stories of women politicians themselves were more helpful in giving me a reality check on what goes on behind the scenes. Madeleine M. Kunin illustrates through numerous interviews with female politicians, from Sen. Hillary Clinton on down, that women do govern differently, are consensus builders and are, for the most part, effective leaders who hold more liberal or moderate positions on a variety of issues, including abortion, hate crimes, civil unions, healthcare and education. No surprise there.
It was with irony that I read the final chapters of the book, following Sen. Ted Stevens’ indictments and his self-appointed reputation as “the meanest S.O.B.” in Congress. Therein lies the problem: Only 16 percent of the U.S. electorate is women, partly because women view politics as a nasty, soul-sucking business.
But politicians from both sides of the aisle do work together, and the process is laborious. Kunin shows that you don’t have to sell your soul. As Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., puts it: “I call it the Political Whore check. If I wake up every morning and I can look in the mirror and I think to myself, ‘What am I going to do today? Is it honorable? Is it just? Is it right for my community?’ If I can answer any of those questions by saying ‘yes’ and feeling good and clean inside, then what I am doing is OK.”
If only all politicians acted with such integrity. —Pam Gersh