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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Friday, April 03, 2009

Prince George's County and the Dynamics of Rural Rier Development

Washington Business Journal reported nearly five years ago that “[a]s developers continue snapping up large swaths of farmland near Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County officials are calling for a comprehensive plan before the piecemeal projects get out of hand. "I want to look at that entire area and say, 'This is how we should build this area out,'" says Samuel Dean, chairman of the Prince George's County Council. "All of these development applications are coming in separately. That doesn't do anything for us, to have it built in a hodgepodge manner. "[1]
When it comes to eastern Upper Marlboro’s historic Woodlands area, one can hope that Mr. Dean will continue to follow his own words. Because the hodge-podge of small pieces is coming before him soon, we can hope that he might put the brakes on the rezoning of Crain Corner for a strip mall in the rural tier. Of course Councilman Dean is clear that his preference is to build on, out and over the open space as if it were a blank canvas of no value except when developed and paved over. But he is consistently opposed to overriding and overlooking local community involvement and desires. There is hope, then, that he is hearing and listening to the residents of Woodland and Marlboro Meadows and will not run rough shod over their concerns.

Developers look at open space because it is cheaper then redevelopment costs in established communities. This dynamic leads to the pattern of suburban development where most of the wealthy people settled in rural parts of the region, leading to mall developers and employers wanting to locate there, leading to more highways there, destroying the reason the people moved there in the first place. The wealth then leaves moving further out to restart the process again. In the mean time, developers and investors are loath to redevelop in our established communities because the return is not so great as plowing under a field and planting it with asphalt.

All of this takes place as everyone agrees to blindly assume that the destruction of ecosystems and their services is someone else’s problem and cost, or in this county’s case, no one’s cost because it all is free, just call in the bulldozers. Ask your self, how many SUV’s can we have on the roads because the green space of the rural tier absorbs the carbon? The answer is in the tens of thousands.

[1] Washington Business Journal, 20-Dec-2004;

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