30 September 2002 (1)
[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/aStoryof2027.html]
© [All Rights Reserved.] This was written for classroom use at California State University, Chico. On August 15, 2002, the cover story of the Chico News & Review was written by Senior Editor Bob Spear and dealt with "life" in Chico in the year 2027. Entitled "25 years from now: On its silver anniversary the News & Review envisions the Chico of the future," a "Guest Commentary" by John Omaha ("2027, a dissenting view") was published on August 29, 2002 and a letter to the editor ("Remember the future' by Fran Farley) also appeared that day. Shortly thereafter, I decided to create this little "story" for classroom use only at CSU, Chico.
HISTORY / REALITY
THE CAMPUS AND THE REGION
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SOME APPROPRIATE WEB SITES
HISTORY / REALITY
In August 2002, various articles appeared in the Chico News & Review dealing with "life" in Chico in the year 2027. Senior Editor Bob Speer's article appeared in CN&R on August 15th and a "Guest Commentary" and a letter to the Editor followed on August 22, 2002. For the record, recent information indicates the population of the "Chico" area is approximately 99,375 individuals and there are roughly 66,800 individuals with the "City Limits" of Chico, California (located in the Sacramento Valley). On March 30, 2001, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that California is still the most populous state in the United States of America, with 33,871,648 residents [or ~12.05%] of the USA" and as The Wall Street Journal pointed out on August 29, 2001, "...California is not done growing. Over the next 20 years, another 15 million people will be born in, or move to, the Golden State [stress added]." It has been estimated that the population for California in the following years will be: 39,957,616 (in the year 2010), 45,448,627 (2020), and 58,731,006 (2040) (Chico Enterprise-Record, December 18, 1998, page 4A)" and by 2040, the state [of California] will have 58.7 million residents, a 75 percent increase, according to Department of Finance projections. The population in some counties could more than triple [stress added]" (Chico Enterprise-Record, May 2, 1999, page 1B).
"In 1950, the population of Chico was 12,722. The population more than doubled by 1980, to 26,601. During the past two decades, those numbers have increased to 64,581 in the City limits, and approximately 95,000 in the Chico Urban Area. Projections provided by the Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) lists the population [of the city of Chico] at 75,879 in the year 2010, 85,364 in 2015, 90,035 in 2020, and 108,039 in the year 2025 [stress added]." Anon., 2002, Celebrate the Building Industry! Special Section ("Industrial Barbecue 2002") of The Chico Enterprise-Record, June 18, 2002, page 3.
"California's population continues to grow by more than 500,000 people a year. Such growth brings a host of challenges--how to provide enough affordable housing, adequate transportation, schools and jobs. In order to address these challenges, local cities and governments should be encouraged to work together and create regional growth management policies [stress added]." Elizabeth Klementowski, 2002, Flawed solution to an imaginary problem. The San francisco Chronicle, June 18, 2002, page A19.
On Changes in California: "Almost 70,000 acres of California's open space was devoured by a growing population lured to the state by its booming economy from 1996 to 1998, according to a state report released Wednesday [October 11, 2000]. The urban sprawl is driven by California's influx of roughly 700,000 people a year [stress added]." Open space continues vanish act in state. (Associated Press) The Sacramento Bee, October 12, 2000, page A3.
Finally, on June 24, 2001, an article based on research from the University of California, Davis appeared in The Sacramento Bee (Alvin D. Sokolow," How Much State Farmland Is Disappearing?" pages L1 and L6). The research pointed out that 49,700 acres of California farmland disappears each year and since the campus of California State University, Chico (excluding the University farm) is 119 acres, approximately 417 Chico State campuses turn into various buildings every year!
It is Thursday, September 16, 2027, and you've returned to Chico for yet another visit. Crossing the country on your CDN shuttle, you are amazed that the fabled "BosWash Corridor Traffic" didn't delay your flight into the Bay Area and that the Continental-Delta-Northwest Airline partnership (of the early 2000s) has made for some amazing connections. Knowing well that traffic to Chico along the I-80/I-5 corridors would be horrific, you decided on the USA flight into Chico International Airport and you reminisced on the successful United-Southwestern-American airline consolidations earlier in this century.
In thinking about the automobile traffic below you, you remember reading that in the early 1990s, something like 250,000 automobiles a day went through the Bay Bridge toll plaza and in the early 2000s it was up to 286,000 per day. In-flight information points out the value of the Personal MAGLEV system awaiting you at any destination and you learn of the 325,000 automobiles a day that go through the toll plaza below!
Since you've already web'd an order for a Personal MAGLEV to take you to campus on the old bike path from the airport, your PMAG is waiting and off you go! A Magnetic Levitation vehicle today, a bike path when you went to school here in the early 21st Century and a train track in the last century: what will it be like in 2052? Docking your PMAG on campus, you meet your old Professor (who came to Chico in 1973) and begin a guided-glided tour on a TwoPer-PMAG. The Professor retired in the early 2000s (just about when you graduated) and has a certain perspective on Chico.
THE CAMPUS AND THE REGION
Gliding around the campus of 25,642 full-time-equivalent students (or 31,432 individuals), you think what a difference since your days! Bicycles are now forbidden, a PEDLEV system has been created to link all buildings, and year-round operation on campus is a success! You learn that the 31,432 number does not include the E-Versity students who are taking web'd courses all over the globe through the Chico College of Continuous Learning. Although you can't afford INTERNET IV-WWW connectivity in your personal living space, you are glad to see that Chico is finally wired. The construction that was so much a part of your campus life is over! ("For Now" your Professor adds!)
Your old Professor points out that classroom hours in 2027 are still the same as when you were a student and all Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes as well as Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday classes start at 6am, and the last classes still end at 11:50pm. In order to maximize facilities, "18/6" is the rule in all state facilities in California (except for correctional institutions which have always been 24/7!) and there are some in the Office of the Chancellor who are pushing for a 24/7 schedule for all institutions of higher education in the State! Given the many university courses being web'd on a 24/7 basis, the argument is that there is no reason to have an old-fashioned 18/6 in operation! Your Professor-guide tells you, however, that various unions (noticeably the extremely influential Cal State Graduate Student Teaching Union) are opposed to the 24/7 idea, not to mention numerous faculty and staff!
You learn that CSGSTU leaders, along with staff and faculty leaders, are meeting with representatives of Governor Brown-Cancuña this week in an attempt to resolve the issue before the November Special Election. Although some faculty are so asynchronous anyway (and they are all for 24/7), the Governor is not so sure this is a wise decision and she wants to get as much input as possible before making an executive decision (like the one a few years ago) when "Chico State" was made the 13th campus of the University of California System and was given the name of University of California, Chico. The Governor is a political person!
You remember hearing that what was once Butte College (eighteen miles from where you are gliding about) is now California State University, Butte and adjacent to CSU, B, is the ever-popular University City. University City was once part of a 6,000-acre ranch and it developed over the past decades to meet the growing population of the north state.
Although the nickname "UC" does cause some confusion, University City is a lovely community of 6,750 homes that blends nicely into the growing community of East Durham. With schools, shopping malls, thirty-three places of worship, as well as an airstrip and a MAGLEV station, UC is a prime location. The MAGLEV station (located closer to CSU,B then the actual "center" of University City), gets some very heavy 18/6 traffic between CSU, Shasta to the north and CSU, Yuba to the south (and all three institutions are lobbying heavily to become designated the next UC campus!). Your old Professor tells you that UC, Chico was able to expand because the state of California claimed the "old" Chico High School facilities (along the still gorgeous Esplanade) through eminent domain and this eventually resulted in UC, Chico. Even though he doesn't have the exact numbers, he knows that with seven high schools, Chico is growing! After all, since the population of California is now increasing by almost 1,000,000 individuals per year, people have to go somewhere (and public facilities throughout the state are almost at their limits).
The idea that "Chico State" was a "Party School" when you were here has never gone away and now you wonder whether being the 13th UC creates anxiety in some minds: people are funny and some ideas have no connection with reality! Your Professor tells you that UC, Chico was created as the 13th UC shortly after UC, Sacramento. (You think, if "Chico" had only been #12!)
You graduated before they demolished and rebuilt numerous campus structures and seeing the twenty-seven story ("Big Butte Hall") building is amazing! Butte Hall still has all of the traditional departments when you were here as well twelve floors dedicated to the "College of Leisure Arts, Entertainment, and Finance" (something that was created after you left). "Leisure College" is the college with the most enrollments on campus and although E-education is still important, it has changed so much from your day and leisure affects all! One of the major attractions of Leisure College are the excellent courses dealing with the ever-expanding "gaming" industry. Within a 175-mile radius of Chico (or from the Oregon border to the San Francisco Bay Area and well south of Sacramento) there are twenty-three Native American Casinos (and more being planned) and the tourism industry is big business!
Several of these casinos, especially those along the RoseSacSanStrip have an average daily attendance of more than 65,000 individuals, almost matching some of the attendance figures of Native American Casinos in the San Diego/Palm Springs/Los Angeles area. Several of the casinos, incidentally, are planning to expand their facilities even further, much like the fabled Mashantucket Casino in the state of Pequot (formerly known as Connecticut) that truly started all of the Native American mega-casinos (although you know that The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians in the southern part of this state had a lot to do with it!). "Leisure" is big business.
The growth of gaming in California contributed heavily to the demise of Reno as a leisure destination and with a population of less than 35,000 individuals (including the students at the still vibrant University of Nevada, Reno), visiting Reno is like going back in time to a period when Chico was that small. When the United States government amended various "gaming regulations" (sometime in the mid-2000s) a lot changed in this country: not only did stock brokers have to "cease-and-desist" from using the term "investor" in any literature or promotion, but after the State of Nevada centralized all gaming in MEGALASVEGAS (so renamed from "The Meadows" since there were no longer any "meadows" for miles around), the only "casino" that Reno has today is in the Museum at UNR (only taking tokens and no cash payout). MEGALASVEGAS receives more than 52,000,000 visitors a year! Themed (and non-themed) casino construction is continues and the city is still growing (although what was once known as UNLV was forced to scale down in size as more land was needed for MLV and so UNMLV is now only a shadow of its former self and UNR has regained its flagship status).
Incidentally, you recall that when stock market pundits, as well as television personalities and all print and web venues, began using the term "gambler" in lieu of "investor" for the stock markets of the world, individuals soon became very aware of the "gambling" nature that they previously thought they were investing in! It did come as a shock and it is thought by some that this was a primary factor in some of the political upheavals (and reversals-of-fortune) in this country for several politicians!
Back in Chico today (which doesn't have a single casino in town), you do notice multiple eleven-story parking structures all over the area, including one across from the old CN&R building (which received "Historical Landmark" status early in the 21st Century), but there is still an automobile and PEDLEV parking shortage!! Gliding around you are impressed with the sixteen-story BMU-EAST erected at the corner of First and Main a few years ago (and affectionately known as the "BEAST"). BMU-EAST, complete with a roof swimming pool (with adequate shade) includes eight floors of electronic classrooms, health club facilities, administrative offices, and it allows students who attend classes in this part of UC, Chico a respite from PEDLEVing or walking to the old campus. You notice that the bookstore, adjacent to BMU-EAST, is still there and the books are still a bargain! E-books may be convenient but nothing takes the place of paper and you remember the words from a visit to the State of Columbia (formerly Washington, D.C.) and a trip to the Library of Congress: Litera scripta manet, or the written (or physically published) word endures!
Politics has certainly changed since Columbia (along with East Texas, West Texas, Central Texas, and North Texas) came into the union; and you certainly recall the chagrin when the state of Jefferson was allowed to be finally carved out of parts of Oregon and California. Now we have the potential of the sovereign states of Northern California (or what is left of it) and Southern California (which will redefine the boundaries of the Sovereign Territory of Baja). What will happen? No one can predict the future, but it certainly can be invented!
You tell your old Professor that one concern you do have about UC, Chico is the special referendum coming up in November and what will Governor Brown-Cancuña do if it passes? Although the Governor is determined to keep the state together, after recent United States Supreme Court decisions, the special election of November 2027 could change California forever. She was overwhelmingly elected with a very "catchy" political phrase: "As simple as ABC!" but where candidate Brown-Cancuña meant "A Brown-Cancuña Decision? Easy!" her opponents tried to emphasize the "simple" part in her phrase but it didn't work! The Governor thinks the November referendum will fail but she is covering all of her bets and is now talking about the magnificent states of "Northern California" and "Southern California" and who really knows what will happen in the future? What will millions of people do if the referendum fails? Which state will she choose to be governor of if the referendum passes? What of the "Central Valley" secession movement? How will the passage affect the UC System? Will there be a SouthernUC as well as a NorthernUC? Questions, questions, questions: always questions!
In the middle of this nostalgic tour you are alerted by your cochlea implant that you have a 4pm shuttle flight to catch to Singapore (via Hawai'i) and you had better get the old Professor to speed things up! Incidentally, tourism in Hawai'i took off like a shot in the early 2000s when legislation in the state was finally established to allow full-fledged casino-resorts to be built throughout the islands and the reality (and catchy slogan) of "No Casinos? No Jobs! No Hawai'i!" won out. The "entertainment" industry had lobbied for legal "gaming" for many years and the mega-resorts, combined with outstanding golf courses, an excellent transportation system (and great weather) soon pushed the islands into having more than 16,000,000 visitors a year (almost equally divided between "visitors from the mainland" and "visitors from across the Pacific"). The hypersonic scram jet shuttle, which you would soon be catching for your hop to Singapore also helped! "Two hours to anywhere!" is a reality (and one doesn't have to worry about airline food: it isn't served on most flights anymore because there isn't sufficient time to eat it!).
As you go to your PMAG to return to the airport, you see that the old "El Rey Building" is still there, and is now called ElRey Hall and you learn that e-lectures from this facility are web'd all over the globe. You are also told that ElRey Hall was created when old Butte Hall was demolished and lecture space was needed for the ever-growing enrollment (not to mention faculty offices). ElRey Hall, and the surrounding offices, also came in handy when a massive amount of remodeling occurred on campus. You have just learned that Langdon Hall will soon be imploded as the campus expands westward (and a 46-story complex erected where tiny Langdon Hall once stood!). After a trench was dug for the railroad tracks (and the tracks were lowered 35 feet below ground and completely covered over, from Eaton Road Village to the Diamond Match International Industrial Complex), traffic (and population) then flowed towards RINGROAD32: campus expanded, Chico expanded, and "West Chico" became a reality, extending to the Sacramento River!
You remember reading that there were many pundits who stated that Reno's failure to trench through downtown in the 2000s (to lower the railroad tracks that bisected old downtown Reno) was the major cause of that city's decline; however, one need merely look at the development of "gaming" in California to see that the failure to trench in Reno ("Dig For Our Future!" was their catchy phrase) was merely a part of the problem and probably would not have made one bit of difference! Incidentally, the Diamond Match International Industrial Complex is an extremely successful joint venture between UC, Chico and several neo-bio-nano-technology corporations and the genome patents to date (not to mention the billions in royalties from factories and hospitals all over the world) have contributed mightily to what UC, Chico has become. Funding for education from the state has almost evaporated since your day (yet it is still a "state" institution) and private venture funding is a must! The faculty from the College of Law and Business conduct weekly seminars for the staff at DMIIC and some of the latest ideas are being developed from the sixth-graders who are interns at DMIIC three days a week: not only has "higher education" changed since you were here, but the bright kids are getting brighter and sadly to say, those without access to the latest information technologies are getting further and further behind by those who are accelerating ahead!
As you came in from the airport, your implant transmitted the helicopter traffic report for the Bidwell Viaduct. Traffic was described as "light to moderate" and who (in the early 2000s) would have dared to predict the elevated toll-road over Bidwell Park, connecting East and West Chico and eventually continuing on to the woodlands of northern California? Chico has certainly grown from the small community of 1,000 residents in 1872, when John Bidwell was here. Chico had roughly 12,000 people in 1950 and almost 100,000 when you arrived in the early 2000s! And now? Where does "Chico" end and how far does it extend? You know that people MAGLEV up here from Sacramento just to have a quiet luncheon date and San Francisco commuters simply love the cultural events of Chico and shuttle-up for an evening of fun and relaxation given that the Bay Area is so congested. Wow! What of the future?
CSU, Chico (whoops!), UC, Chico has certainly changed and you decide that the only thing that looks the same after 25 years is the Bidwell Mansion! What will this entire area look like in 2052? You remember a statement from your old Professor: "What is the carrying capacity of any region?" And you also wonder "how far" can people push things? We learn so many things so late (you decide) and you recall the words of the American Anthropologist Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) from the last century:
"The unit of survival [or adaptation] is organism plus environment. We are learning by bitter experience that the organism which destroys its environment destroys itself. If, now, we correct the Darwinian unit of survival to include the environment and the interaction between organism and environment, a very strange and surprising identity emerges: the unit of survival turns out to be identical with the unit of mind." Gregory Bateson, 1972, Steps To An Ecology of Mind (NY: Ballantine Books), page 483.
You consider, very briefly, that perhaps we (as a species) don't have the minds to survive; but you are reminded of the words of yet another anthropologist, the saintly Jane Goodall: "Without hope there is apathy" so you must have hope!
And so, after a delightful visit, you decide that Chico is still a wonderful place and your children can still get an outstanding education at UC, Chico. You decide that you might get them into a (relatively) decent rental for ~$4,500/month and (given that Bay Area prices are astronomical) and you might even invest in a fixer-upper: the $795,000 for a modest student rental in Chico seems quite reasonable to you.
As you leave Chico, you think how simple it was when you were here in the early 2000s and how truly quaint it must have been in 1973 when your old Professor first came here; you also try and imagine how Chico was in 1927 or 1902 and you have a hard time in doing that. You also think about how truly archaic the technology of 2027 will look to the student or resident of 2052 and how the problems of today will be ever-so-simple when compared to the problems of the future! Everything, you really understand, is relative.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After receiving his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1972 (University of Oregon), Charlie taught at the University of Minnesota for one year and he and his wife (and nine-month old son) came to Chico in 1973. A member of the Department of Anthropology since 1973, Charlie thoroughly enjoys teaching on a wonderful campus located in a fantastic community. He will retire from teaching one day ("retire into something and not retire out of something") and hopes to be around in 2027 to see how his crystal ball worked! Incidentally, back in the "quaint" days of 1973, if someone had told Charlie that he or she had been a faculty member for 29 years, Charlie could have gone through a calculation of something like "1973 minus 29 equals 1944" and might have thought: "Gee, you've been here since 1944: you're old!" Charlie now knows that when new faculty learn that he has been here since 1973 and, if they go through similar calculations (2002 minus 29 equals 1973), they might well think the following: "Gee, you've been here since 1973: you're old!" Everything is relative.
SOME APPROPRIATE WEB SITES:
PLEASE NOTE: According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the United States, projected to September 30, 2002 at 8:27am [Pacific Standard Time] was 288,173,586 [http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/popclock]. This means there is one birth every 7 seconds, one death every 14 seconds, one international migrant (net) every 31 seconds, for a net gain of one person every 10 seconds.
http://www.newsreview.com/issues/chico/2002-08-15/cover.asp [Robert Speer} 15 August 2002} 25 years from now.]
http://www.newsreview.com/issues/chico/2002-08-29/guest.asp [John Omaha} 29 August 2002} Guest commentary.]
http://www.newsreview.com/issues/chico/2002-08-29/letters.asp [Fran Farley} 29 August 2002} Letter.]
http://www.newsreview.com/issues/chico/2002-08-29/cover.asp [Tom Gascoyne} 29 August 2002} Rent's up.]
http://www.newsreview.com/issues/chico/2002-08-29/cover2.asp [Devanie Angel} 29 August 2002} Taking roll.]
http://www.dof.ca.gov/HTML/DEMOGRAP/Druhpar.htm [State of California, Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit]
http://www.greatvalley.org/ [The Great Valley Center: Your Link To California's Great Central Valley]
http://www.rand.org/publications/RB/RB8013/RB8013.html [1996 RAND Report} Does California's Fiscal Future Bode ill for Education?]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ChicoSIRJune25.html [Urbanowicz 2001a} The Past, Present, and Future(s).]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/ChicoCityJune28.html [Urbanowicz 2001b} The Past, Present, and Future(s): Part II.]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/SP2001ReddingCA.html [Urbanowicz 2001c} Where Does the Future Come From? Subtitled, "You haven't Seen Anything Yet!"]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Jan'98_Millennium_Paper.html [Urbanowicz 1998a} Twenty-five/Twenty-five, Or Hindsight Is Always Somewhat "Perfect" (But Perhaps We Can invent The Future!]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/14th_ICAES.html [Urbanowicz 1998b} Gambling (Gaming) In The united States of America From An Anthropological Perspective.]
http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Gaming/Prop5.html [Urbanowicz 1998c} Proposition 5 And Native American Gaming issues.]
http://www.csuchico.edu/pub/inside/archive/97_09_25/tech.html [Urbanowicz 1997] Camping Is Great But Nothing Beats Home: Across the USA in Pursuit of Educational Technology [or see: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Camping1997Essay.html].]
(1) © [All Rights Reserved.] This was written for classroom use at California State University, Chico. On August 15, 2002, the cover story of the Chico News & Review was written by Senior Editor Bob Spear and dealt with "life" in Chico in the year 2027. Entitled "25 years from now: On its silver anniversary the News & Review envisions the Chico of the future," a "Guest Commentary" by John Omaha ("2027, a dissenting view") was published on August 29, 2002 and a letter to the editor ("Remember the future' by Fran Farley) also appeared that day. Shortly thereafter, I decided to create this little "story" for classroom use only at CSU, Chico. To return to the beginning of this page, please click here.
~4,585 words [30 September 2002]
To go to the home page of Urbanowicz, please click here;
to the Department of Anthropology;
to California State University, Chico.
© [Copyright 2002: All Rights Reserved] Charles F. Urbanowicz
30 September 2002 by cfu
# # #