It seems Inkblot was sent to cat heaven by a coyote, in the middle of a neighborhood where everything in your field of view in every direction except the sky is there because of a conscious human decision: Et in suburbia ego.Â We have strict zoning, building codes, design review, neighborhood associations, real cops and private security, neighborhood watch associations, home alarm systems – all the awesome powers of organized humanity – but nature has her ways, and creatures specialized for the edge of the forest (deer) and unspecialized creatures open to anything (coyotes, opossums, skunks, raccoons; cockroaches, Argentine ants, crabgrass, mosquitos) know a niche when they see one.
When we moved to Berkeley, we lived a half-mile downhill from the East Bay’s wonderful hilltop park reserve, and our standard poodle saw a splendid, sleek, six-point buck enjoying the rose bushes and some vegetables.Â The dog had met the occasional deer in Vermont, wild deer with traditional views of ungulate/carnivore relationships, and charged out to teach this one some manners. But this deer had learned what wusses Berkeley dogs are, and didn’t give an inch; confronted with a set of lowered antlers and aÂ look that meant business, Winnie gave a whimper and hotfooted it back in the house.
Now we live in a more urbanized neighborhood, and we still have the odd deer bounding through backyards, a whiff of skunk on the night air now and then and, wonderfully, a half dozen wild turkeys who amble down the sidewalk every few months.Â Where the deer come out of the park, and I have seen them several times on the Cal campus, mountain lions follow, and coyotes are no longer unusual deep into settled areas. `It’s one thing to have your garden browsed by Bambi’s extended family, and another to be afraid to let your cat or cocker out. Vegan, peacable Berkeley, like a lot of suburban communities full of city slickers with romantic ideas about nature, is having some difficult moments recognizing what it means to live neither in the city nor the country.
Author: Michael O'Hare
Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training.
He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at UniversitÃ Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs.
At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4Ã—5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.
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