The New York Times has a new article titled California Drought Tests History of Growth. It includes several striking photos of the built environment in the very unbuildable environment of the California desert. As I looked at these photos, all I could think was, "How does this make any sense!? How are educated, adult human beings making the decisions to build like this!?"
The most important quote from the article in my mind is, "This will change what Californians see as beautiful." That beauty does not have a single definition is a lesson Californians (and everyone else) will have to learn. Green lawns and large trees are not required for beauty. That kind of development may be suitable for the East Coast of the United States, where the wetter climates can sustain such vegetation; but it has no place in the naturally dry, arid landscape of the western United States.
The built environment of modern California is a victim of time and timing. It saw most of its development in an era where modern technology allowed us to build what we want, where we want it...or so we thought. Because of its rapid development, it is easy to forget that this type of "Anywhere USA" development is very young. It has not yet had the chance to stand the test of time. And with the drought in California getting ever worse, is the time coming where nature proclaims itself the victor?