Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Land Use, Telescopes and Sacred Land in Paradise

Way back in 2005, in my last year of a dual degree in law and urban planning, I had the good fortune of participating in a studio project at Berkeley with Tim Duane and Randy Hester, which dealt with the siting of telescopes at the top of Hawaii's Mauna Kea.  The problem was that while Mauna Kea was arguably the best place in the world to build astronomy observatories, the same land were also among the most sacred of spots for Native Hawaiians.  The weeks our class spent in Hawaii learning about those issues still rate among my most enriching experiences in land use law and planning.  

In the decade since our visit there, the issues that underlie the conflict between Native Hawaiians and the telescopes have not changed.  This morning, NPR had a story about the latest effort to build an 18-story telescope at the top of the mountain, and the building resistance against the observatories among Native Hawaiians.  It is worth a listen.  


Native Hawaiians dance in honor of Mauna Kea at the base of Pu'u Huluhulu on the Big Island.


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