From a news article about how people in Kyiv are in survival mode after having their water and power knocked out by Russian missile strikes: “In scenes hard to believe in a sophisticated city of 3 million, some Kyiv residents resorted to collecting rainwater from drainpipes, as repair teams labored to reconnect supplies.”
I get what the writers mean: that collecting rainwater via drainpipes isn’t “modern.” It’s kind of “primitive” or “old-fashioned.” And obviously the residents of Kyiv and the rest of Ukraine are dealing with a horrific situation. But I would actually say the residents of Kyiv, by collecting rainwater, are being quite sophisticated here by finding a low-tech workaround to a system failure.
Resourcefulness is sophisticated.
Considering where dependence on “modern” systems has brought us, I think we need to change our definition of modern and sophisticated.
A lot of what we call modern systems are fragile. Having backup is sophisticated. Redundancy is one of the principles of permaculture design.
Examples of applying this design principle to human environments: Cities having manual backup for electric water pumps. Cities having a network of rainwater collection barrels and tubs.
I would argue that having these things in place is more sophisticated and more modern. I think every city needs to have these things. After all the wars and natural disasters we’ve seen, it seems clear. Time to get more sophisticated and modern, by designing our systems to be more like nature.
Redundancy abounds in nature. We’d be smart to reintroduce more redundancy into our everyday living environments.
Where I live, in storm-prone Florida, it’d be really smart, modern, and sophisticated for cities to have citywide rainwater-collection systems.