5.3  Transforming Social and Political Institutions             last revised/edited 11/2010, 6/2014
5.3.1 Creating a highly decentralized political system
5.3.2 Architecture and infrastructure

5.3.1 Creating a highly decentralized political system
To improve social institutions the following steps are proposed (not necessarily in the order as outlined):
– Governments gradually institute small political units, communities, of approximately 1000 inhabitants, such as a neighborhood or small town, as social-political units, each with its own council, and aiming to create a small central square, park with playground, nursery, school, library1, etc.
– Local governments aim to decentralize schools and service organizations. While maintaining or encouraging some centralized highly specialized services, governments must rely mostly on small, efficient institutions for high quality services that are adapted to local needs and are transparent in their functioning.
– The political organization of rural and metropolitan areas is reorganized: areas or counties represent groups of towns and small cities, mid-sized cities, or quarters of large cities.
– Governments encourage or mandate more vacation less work hours and flexible work arrangements for parents of young children, partially disabled persons, people taking care of handicapped persons, and the elderly.
– For most countries, the constitution must be reviewed; at least important aspects of the constitution dealing with the organization of government must be reviewed, amended or rewritten, creating more democratic multiparty democracies with a rational, efficient systems of elections and referenda.
– While central authority is weakened, measures are needed to prevent conflicts of interest and to address problems not readily recognized by members of local cultures. For these reasons, government officials of local governments must not be local people but should come from a distant region. Country or federal governments should include foreigners from different cultures who can address issues in unbiased ways and without loyalty to some group(s) within a country.
– Legal systems may be gradually changed, first moving lesser cases from courts to mediation and arbitration services and establishing secure, specialized treatment units for people who appear dangerous to self and/or to others (at some point, suicidal patients stop complying with local mores and people who are ready to kill others often become suicidal).
– Political boundaries for government departments dealing with utilities and transportation may be redrawn considering mainly geography, while other government branches may be adjusted to better observe cultural-linguistic and historical borders.
– Local officials cooperate to assure quality services for all people; federal and regional officials devise regional plans and assume roles as consultants, coordinators, and mediators.
– Federal ethical oversight committees are established to monitor local institutions for ethical principles such as inclusion of all people in economic processes, protection of people from formal and informal education that promotes unethical thinking and values, protection of women and children and people with special needs, prevention of favoritism, bribes and corruption.
 
5.3.2 Architecture and infrastructure
Governments may work with ethologists, psychologists, anthropologists and architects on creating cities and infrastructures adapted to social needs of humans that promote optimal social interactions.
– Architects are to work on designs that incorporate relaxed outdoor spaces with plants and relatively small apartments that offer privacy and opportunities for informal interactions between people. Apartments may surround play areas.
– All areas should contain larger and smaller houses and/or apartments, adapted for large and small families and elderly people without children living at home. Older people should be able to live close to places where families with young children live.
– City planners and architects are encouraged to borrow designs and ideas from many cultures.
– Public transportation is to allow people of different communities to associate and interact, largely avoiding the use of inefficient personal transportation (cars are generally not only inefficient regarding energy use, but also regarding safety, people’s need to concentrate on traffic, and need of parking spaces at car owner’s home and at places people drive to; all forms of rail systems are preferred because of safety and energy efficiency).

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1  Small libraries may combine coffee and book shop with lending books CDs, etc. The trend towards exclusive use of electronic media within homes is problematic. Holding a book or paper, writing notes and letters by hand, etc. have probably benefits not adequately appreciated. Staring at a screen and also looking continuously straight ahead while driving may decrease the mind’s ability to process material, including conflicts, traumatic experiences and new learning (Research in the treatment of posttraumatic stress and other disorders indicates benefits of frequently or alternately stimulating right and left brain hemispheres, compare Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Walking to places within communities and attending libraries have also social functions.

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