At this month's "Global City Forum
" -- an international conference on sustainability held, oddly enough, in the totally unsustainable bubble of Abu Dhabi -- the delegate from Zurich said a very unusual thing.
Never mind that he hails from a safe, prosperous, and well-run city -- that's boring! They want to be more like San Francisco!
Well, if the good people of Zurich believe the negation of safety, prosperity, and efficient government will allay their terminal ennui, they couldn't have chosen a better template than San Fran -- at least among cities people still visit voluntarily.
If Zurich really wishes to be more like San Francisco, then, by all means, it should:
- Mandate that Mayor Elmar Ledergerber rarely be seen within city limits and spend all his time traversing the world in hopes of winning the governorship of the local kanton;
- Develop a homeless problem: If Swiss citizens can't be bothered to give up their comfortable homes in this effort, we're sure Eastern European laborers can be hired to harass tourists; sell Street Sheet-like newspapers in German, French, Italian, and Romansh; and beg for euros with which to purchase artisinal chocolates and fondues;
- Have bus drivers make every effort to show up late -- or not show up at all! Also, citizens of Zurich should feel obliged to scrawl every manner of inane message (again, in German, French, Italian or Romansh) on public transportation or, increasingly, relieve transit-using tourists of their possessions;
- Combine the best elements of Swiss cheese-making and San Francisco's Up Your Alley Fair by inviting leathermen to puncture holes in Swiss Cheese -- their way;
- Note that the yearlong mild weather -- and occasionally beach-worthy sort -- San
Franciscans enjoy as a result of, naturally, being on the ocean has
eluded landlocked Zurich.
But only temporarily: Eastern Europeans not selling papers can be put
to work in a massive trenching project. Failing this, they can simply
let global warming do its work;