The Full Cleveland (and Buffalo)


Murray Whyte of the Star notes that not a drop of rain has fallen on Phoenix in the last month, the temperature was over 110 degrees for ten straight days and brushfires are burning everywhere.

"And they're still building billion-dollar houses, right in the middle of the desert," says Paul Oyashi, incredulous. "It doesn't seem rational, does it?"

In a word, no. Rational, some would say, would be a mass migration from the drought-ravaged American southwest, where Southern California just experienced its driest 12-month period in recorded history, to more verdant climes. Like Cleveland, where Oyashi is the director of development

"We don't have earthquakes, we don't have brush fires, we've got all the fresh water you could ever want," Oyashi says. "That's logic. But the problem is, it flies in the face of reality."
Buffalo, New York

So many cities on the Great Lakes have it all; access to 25% of the world's fresh water, good communications by rail or canal, great buildings waiting to be repurposed.

"Sticking a straw in the Great Lakes is not a solution to Phoenix's water problems," says Robert Shibley, director of the Urban Design Project at the State University of New York at Buffalo. "Maybe it's time to really think about what constitutes need and stop spending money to build carrying capacity in places that don't have it by nature, and start investing in places that do."

The development of air conditioning and cheap energy caused the great migration south. Could it reverse?

"Once the heat becomes unbearable, they may find the freezing cold a little more bearable–especially if it's not quite so freezing cold as they remember." ::The Star