From the series,
Meetings with Miraculous People
The TROY Model
by Troy Ohio’s former
(Troy Daily News)
Born in Dayton and raised in Troy Ohio from an early age, I was a Trojan until 1989 when I moved my family with four children to Paradise Valley Montana, just north of Yellowstone Park.
Rural Montana has been good for my family, but sometimes you don’t appreciate what you have until you lose it, and my experience growing up in Troy was priceless.
Troy in my formative years was a model of small-town America with a hub of industry surrounded by rich farmlands. Troy prospered, giving so much to all.
For me, it was more than racing in the International Soap Box Derby at age 13, meeting Hollywood celebrities as they walked around Derby Camp before the race, calling you “champ”. Troy gave me that.
It was more than growing up figure skating on an ice rink created by the Hobarts even before Dayton had one. It was more than being a skater in local ice shows and fast-dancing with feature skater, Olympic Gold Medalist Peggy Fleming, at a private party after an ice show. Troy gave me that.
It was more than going to a modern High School with its Hobart football stadium better than most small colleges had. I became the first school photographer who built a dark room in the chemistry lab, beginning a decade-long sideline free-lancing in photography. Troy gave me that, along with Rec dances, K’s Hamburgers, and memories that now provide real comfort in a different world.
It was more than graduating from High School with a ten week scholarship to learn welding at the Hobart Welding Technology Center. Later I took a summer job at Hobart Manufacturing, good pay back then. What the Hobart Brothers did for Troy, with Hobart Manufacturing, Hobart Kitchen Aid and Hobart Welding Systems was amazing for the common wealth of the community. Thank you Hobarts!
It was more than becoming an Eagle Scout in Troop 82 and coordinating two local troops, years later, distributing a bicentennial proposal for developing community cable TV to 5000 homes on the weekend of July 4th, 1976. The enclosed surveys put the pressure on City Council, and after much lobbying with my non-profit “Community Video Inc.” organization, Troy got the best package for a Public Access TV station offered by five companies applying for the cable franchise. Thank you Scouts!
It was more than a Bicentennial proposal I made to City Council, recommending that the yearly downtown Arts and Crafts Festival be moved to the levee, a proposal that found its way to civic leader Steve Hamilton and became the regionally renowned Strawberry Festival. Thank you Steve!
Some Trojans may even remember my downtown store, Rainbow Natural Food Co-op and Eatery, a health foods store on the downtown square that won a “Downtown City Beautification” award. If my interest rates on the SBA loan hadn’t doubled back in 1980, it might have survived the Midwest’s lack of interest in natural foods at that time.
But all the above didn’t compare with my experience with “The Troy Model”.
Back on Friday, June 20, 1986, Troy Daily News ran the second part of a four-part series on what Troy might look like in the year 2001. This second part by Staff Writer Bob Derby was a front page feature on “Troy’s resident visionary”, yours truly.
The headline was, “Today’s new ideas shape tomorrow’s world”. This article revisited my "Troy Model", a 40 page booklet, that I self-published back in 1972… and it referenced a feature article in TDN March 28, 1975 that included my blueprint for the downtown project and a half page of my explanations.
“The rest of the story”, as the former radio legend Paul Harvey used to say, is why I’m writing now. That story is not just the Troy Model as a representation of the highest and best use of Troy’s gifts and resources. It's also a model that communities of the future will follow.
After architecture school at Ohio State University, I studied with Buckminster Fuller in 1974 for a month at his "World Game Studies Workshop" at the University of Pennsylvania, absorbing his pioneering concepts of whole systems design science. One evening I lectured to this group of visionaries and futurists which led to my keynote address to 10 agencies of the federal government on Capitol Hill - a 3 day futures summit - later that year.
Coming back to Troy, I wanted to give back in spades as Troy had given me. Utilizing design science, I realized the capability of Troy's unique resources, which I published in The Troy Model and distributed to business leaders in the community. Troy was perfect for developing Bucky’s geodesic dome over the downtown square as he had done with the U.S. Pavilion at the Montreal Worlds Fair in 1967.
The engineering firm of Fuller and Sadao was willing to do the project. The Hobart Welding Technology Center, which pioneered micro-wire welding as now used by mass-production robots worldwide, could have prefabricated the dome modules at the Tech Center and transported them to the downtown square for assembly.
The geodesic dome requires only 3% the weight in materials required by any other engineering alternative for enclosing wide spaces, and welding makes the strength of the dome unparalleled, withstanding gale-force winds and heavy snow loads.
This “domed square”, as a “Community Communications and Convention Center”, could have been enclosed with vertical glass walls at the four entries, with one-way streets routed around the square. At the time, the Bicentennial, there were matching funds from government for such projects, and City Council was sitting on millions of dollars from the sale of Troy’s power plant to Dayton Power and Light.
This grandiose vision for Troy as the “7th Wonder of America” could have been clearly seen rising over the community from the highway, not far from the I-70/I-75 cross-roads of America. But in retrospect, it was “too big to succeed” at the time, just as many institutions today are considered “too big to fail”.
Man learned to fly about a half hour down the highway from Troy, the home of the Wright Brothers in Dayton. About the same distance north of Troy was the home of the 1st man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong. Troy is a center for much futuristic innovation. And with downtown centers decaying nationwide, every since the automobile decentralized cities to the suburbs, The Troy Model could have provided a unique downtown revival example in numerous ways:
· The geodesic dome is the archetype of whole systems “synergy” pioneered by the visionary Buckminster Fuller. The spherical design has great strength with exceptional biomimicry purity, natural beauty, and 'cellular' integrity;
· The doughnut shaped platforms rising in the center under the transparent dome would provide viewing areas to the outer countryside as well as the inner tropical gardens at the nucleus. The 7 platform levels represented the 7 chakras of the community body and corresponding community organization infrastructure that were to be represented with open-public offices on each level. Display booths on each level were to highlight Troy's history and future as a model for community development in the Golden Age;
· Troy’s economy would get an extraordinary boost from tourism;
· Square dances could be held in the four corners on the weekends, bringing the whole community together for 4 different styles of popular dance that fit all demographics;
· The top ring of the central platforms could have showcased a model “Public Access Center of the Future” that would provide self-service video production modules for the origination of programs as now seen on YouTube;
· The cable TV system for the community could thus network this local programming for live or instant replay viewing, utilizing the capability of cable for public evaluation on a “real time” basis while watching, a system that I explained in the 40 page Troy Model booklet and have since developed as 'heartware' for the Internet.
The Troy Model was thus a biomimicry archetype of the biological model for 'cellular' community organisms... the all-connected cells of the the world body. Every living cell has a two-way interactive nervous system, but social networks lack social conscience because one-way mainstream mass programming lacks self-correcting feedback systems.
Buckminster Fuller taught that biologists and anthropologists have discovered how all species and nations which became extinct did so because of overspecialization and inability to self-correct with whole systems integrity - their total environment. All social, political and economic problems are, at heart, communication problems – how we “come-into-unity” as community. And the first working model of interactive mass-to-mass “TeLeComm”, emphasizing the TLC with heartware -- the heart of the Troy Model -- would truly raise the standard of communications and community worthy of the title, “7th Wonder of America”, if not the world.
I love Troy, and always will. The rest of the story is
probably news to most Trojans. Back in 1993, William Hobart contacted me in
Montana and asked me to come back and work with the President of one of his
companies to develop the Troy Model. But I didn’t go, having established new
roots in Montana and convinced that the larger vision of
interactive mass-to-mass TeLeComm would suffer the
same fate of the Public Access TV station in Troy that I helped create. A
state of the arts facility was funded and created, but easy and supportive
public access was denied to virtually everyone.
A global upgrade
is now a CAN DO. That's not just a blueprint for a
golden age in principle. It's a process for optimized
co-creation with cooperation as will make it so!
My legacy won’t be what was, but what will be – I’m a futurist. We live in a global village of instant-everywhere and interactive Internet reality now. The rate of change is being accelerated by our new knowledge power as never before in history. And although I still may be ahead of my time, the world is fast catching up to the potential of heartware for healing information overload and future shock with information’s ecology that recycles general knowledge in the way that cultures wisdom with a heart… the heart of optimal communication that build real community – local and global -- with unity of a more enlightened nature.
Thank you Troy for making this wondrous opportunity possible.
And thank you Buckminster Fuller. May you rest in peace as one of