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Don't lose sight of need for infill

May 27, 2008

Re "Tejon Ranch as a model," Opinion, May 19

Two official environmentalists soft-pedal the opening of a sensitive ecological habitat to negotiated development as a model for preserving what is left of the natural world in California's despoiled land and airscape.

Years ago, Italian architect Paolo Soleri invented a concept of providing for increasing populations on decreasing land space while enhancing urban living and preserving natural habitats. He coined the word "arcology" for his vertical cities amid mountains, forest and wildlife refuges.

Italy is like California in many ways, but it has learned how to provide for a greater population in denser cities and towns that grow organically from its land. We should study Soleri as a guide to developing urban space that will not hold nature hostage until we live on a cement planet.

Environmentalism is not for the fainthearted and the corporate sellouts. If we save all of Tejon Ranch, we just may save our imperiled Earth for our grandchildren. Otherwise, we may as well prepare ourselves to live underground after the developers are done with despoliation and calling it "progress."

Jean E. Rosenfeld

Pacific Palisades

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