In a little café just the other side of the border
She was just sitting there givin' me looks that made my mouth water
So I started walking her way
She belonged to that man, José
And I knew, yes I knew I should leave
When I heard her say, yeah
Come a little bit closer
You're my kind of man
So big and so strong
Come a little bit closer
I'm all alone
And the night is so long
Written by: Wes Farrell, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
In nature, many species attract prey or beneficial companions through color, odor and location. In some situations, prey may have some experience with harmful tactics but, nonetheless, fall victim to the allure of the predator. Nature has a way of providing sustenance for life at all levels of the food chain; sometimes it involves some creative, yet barbaric survival tactics.
Mankind has evolved to the top of the food chain and has, among other sentient beings, organized into social behaviors. Powerful attractive forces are at work within our own environment, just as the spider spins its web to catch an unwary fly. Mythical Sirens lured sailors to doom with sweet sounds; the human equivalent is a song of money, power and prestige – hard to resist, especially for those granted the opportunity to govern.
An example of this lure is the current obsession at all levels of government to solve a housing crisis that plagues the Bay Area. Navigation Centers are the current rage for homelessness and conversion of suburban and rural settings to mega “campuses” and massive buildings of urbanization are on the menu for the Irvington District of Fremont and along the Dumbarton Bridge corridor. As three- and four- story buildings give way to five and six story monoliths, the lure of development and its perceived riches can be intoxicating.
Jay & the Americans 1964 hit song “Come a Little Bit Closer” might be considered an allegory to this flirtation with possibly disastrous consequences of a seemingly enjoyable and positive experience. Just like the protagonist of the song, everything looks okay with, maybe, a tinge of misgiving. We build and build with a wink and nod toward disappearing neighborhoods, districts and quality of life. Termed a strategically urban community, Fremont’s General Plan calls for “intense development around transit stations and along transit corridors.” In contrast, a Community Character Element emphasizes the notion that “new development should be compatible and respectful of existing development without compromising the capacity for innovation, urbanism, and cutting-edge design.”
The enchantress of urbanization is waiting…
What could possibly go wrong?