Oh, Five of Them, Actually
December 23, 2009 11:48 AM   Subscribe

The Edge, AKA David Evans, wants to build a little comppound in Malibu, on "the most prominent landform along the coast between Topanga Canyon Boulevard and the Ventura County line." "In bringing together the very best environmental, architectural and design principles, the owners have sought to create homes that will both set new standards and withstand the test of time," Evans says on the website he created as part of his lobbying effort to move this project through. (Turn your sound on for the video.)

"Unfortunately, it is impossible to construct the five homes strung over a mile of ridgeline and 7,800 feet of water main without resulting in unavoidable significant adverse visual and ecological impacts," writes Ronald P. Schafer, the President of the quasi-public Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

A number of local residents are wondering how building 5 houses on a high ridgeline this close to the ocean could be considered the "right thing to do" by someone with such a progressive cred. The Malibu Times. puts us right on this. "However, U2 is known mostly for human rights issues and not environmental causes."
posted by Danf (46 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Compound.
posted by Danf at 11:49 AM on December 23, 2009


If I contributed to this problem by buying that copy of War back in 1983, I'm sorry.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:52 AM on December 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


*sigh* *waits for the inevitable LOLU2*
posted by kmz at 11:52 AM on December 23, 2009


Time for an old fashioned hate-on!
posted by Burhanistan at 11:53 AM on December 23, 2009



Time for an old fashioned hate-on!

Well, no. Not really.
posted by Danf at 11:55 AM on December 23, 2009


Robert Evans would make for a better story.
posted by box at 11:57 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The antonym of "little compound" is "jumbo shrimp".
posted by DU at 11:58 AM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whoa, hey, Furry Vengeance is based on a true story!
posted by graventy at 11:59 AM on December 23, 2009


AHA! We caught them again! Those do-gooding bastards did something not good this time and god damn it the people who point out stuff like this are gonna put on their pointing out caps and point it out!

This cancels out everything the band has ever done, from the AIDS thing to the Amnesty International thing, even that awesome riff on The Joshua Tree that went chucka chucka chucka chime chime chucka! We must tear them apart, mercilessly, limb by limb!

TO THE PITCHFORKS!
posted by bondcliff at 12:02 PM on December 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well, this sounds like a douche move. I hate when people claim that they're saving the environment by building shit. Why not just say "I want to build shit here, and if I can get a permit I'm going to do it, and I'll try to be as environmentally friendly as possible?"
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:03 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


This cancels out everything the band has ever done, from the AIDS thing to the Amnesty International thing...

No, their repetitive music already canceled that out, so he's basically starting at breakeven.
posted by DU at 12:09 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is the Edge!
posted by stevil at 12:22 PM on December 23, 2009


I stock great value in the general good unless it runs counter to my interests.
posted by joost de vries at 12:22 PM on December 23, 2009


Lets hope the good people in and around Malibu stand together to help keep Malibu pristine and undeveloped.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:28 PM on December 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


Well, the good intentions behind this are pretty misguided. I'd prefer he spend that money to develop in an urban setting to encourage density, more mobility options, mixed-use, and mixed-income. Just focusing on climate and ecological impacts ignores a pretty substantial chunk of the problems with our built environment and what it means to build "green." But I guess if we're going to have developers building luxury homes for the indulgences of the rich, they might as well be as environmentally responsible as possible.
posted by effwerd at 12:30 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's been a lot of talk about this compound. Maybe, maybe too much talk.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:33 PM on December 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Living in an existing structure has a lot less impact.
posted by borges at 12:36 PM on December 23, 2009


Right, because if The Edge wasn't putting his name and money into this project, which might not suck as much as all the other developments that are already being reamed into sensitive environments everywhere, nobody else would ever want or try or have the money and influence to build an ass-pile of McMansions atop the Sweetwater Dunes or whatever they're calling that particular exclusive/nice-view paradise.
posted by toodleydoodley at 12:36 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


He calls himself "The Edge". His bandmate calls himself "Bono". I call them both "What a couple of self-important asses".
posted by Daddy-O at 12:49 PM on December 23, 2009


He calls himself "The Edge". His bandmate calls himself "Bono". I call them both "What a couple of self-important asses".

If I may, I'd like to borrow your time machine. There are a couple of other jokes from 1989 I think I could bring back with me.
posted by shmegegge at 12:57 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


*sigh* *waits for the inevitable LOLU2*

Time for an old fashioned hate-on!


No, no, I can do this....

The Edge...

twat

...AKA David Evans...

twat twat twat twat

...wants to...

TOSSER!

I have failed.
posted by Artw at 1:00 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


U2's music is bad enough for me to hate them regardless of their extracurricular activities. As far as those go, though, they pretty much personify Anton LaVey's maxim that charity is given for selfish reasons.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:10 PM on December 23, 2009


LaVey may be right, but intention isn't everything.
posted by borges at 1:17 PM on December 23, 2009


He's a twat and all. The big baldy fraudster.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on December 23, 2009


LOLU2.
posted by Sailormom at 1:24 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, I'd be dubious about anyone's eco-friendly claims about constructing on a green field site.
posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on December 23, 2009


on another note: this is one of the worst written things I've read in a while:
"It's a sales-pitch video," said Wagner, a local surfing legend who has his own nickname -- Zuma Jay.

He called the video The Edge's way of saying: "I'm doing the right thing."

"But if he was doing the right thing," Wagner went on, "he wouldn't need that video, right?"

And if he were doing the right thing, why would the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy have fired off a letter to the Coastal Commission that attacks the project on one point after another, bang, bang, bang?
Well, we've got folksy fake logic, sans evidence of course, followed by bang bang bang as though that contributed to the strength of these attacks. which is ridiculous, because at first glance I'm inclined to agree that if he wanted to be ecologically friendly he could simply not build on the property. I recall one of our writers once putting "bang bang bang" in an article he wrote (about competitive video gamers shooting one another in game, actually) only to be questioned by his editor: "did you put bang bang bang in there to test if I actually read these articles before I publish them on the site?" "yes." "rest assured. I read them. write it again."
posted by shmegegge at 1:34 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


gah. I hate this, mostly because I deal with similar issues at work on a weekly basis: requests to build large "eco-friendly" developments in pristine areas. You want environmentally friendly design? Live in a city. High-density low-rise mixed-use communities are as eco-friendly as we can get. Expensive compounds in natural areas are, pretty much by definition, not.
posted by kanewai at 1:38 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Keep out of Malibu, deadbeat! Keep out of Malibu, LaBledgeski!
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:39 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Meh. It will either be burned down by a brushfire or slide off the mountain in a rain storm within a few years anyway.
posted by The World Famous at 1:44 PM on December 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Dear rich people,

Nothing you do makes any real difference, except what you did to amass your enormous wealth. That made people suffer.

Love, Rusty.
posted by rusty at 1:52 PM on December 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


To be fair, I'd be dubious about anyone's eco-friendly claims about constructing on a green field site.

Yeah, apparently that's not a popular view here. Because someone else might do an even shittier construction project there, I guess?
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:57 PM on December 23, 2009


While you all fight against the location, I really like the design.
posted by bearwife at 1:58 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Artw: To be fair, I'd be dubious about anyone's eco-friendly claims about constructing on a green field site.

Absolutely. "Eco-friendly" and "constructed on undeveloped land" are mutually exclusive. That's true whether it's a ridge north of Malibu (MAKES ME SO ANGRY) or scrubland in Palmdale. The Edge can shove it.
posted by halonine at 2:15 PM on December 23, 2009


Nothing you do makes any real difference, except what you did to amass your enormous wealth. That made people suffer.

Oh, so you have listened to their records, then?
posted by adamdschneider at 2:21 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


box: Robert Evans would make for a better story.”

Or Bill. Or Gil. Or one of the other David Evanses.

Also, the video is cute in that it's obvious what happened there. Ol' Dave wanted to build the houses, but there was this public furor, so he called his buddy Paul and said "hey Paul, you're always doing these flashy PR pseudo-social-consciousness gigs; what the hell should I do about this crap in Malibu?" And Paul said "well, Dave, you're in luck! Here are the numbers for a few good PR firms in California, and if you come by tomorrow we can have lunch with my spin guy and talk about strategy!"

Fucking twat-shitting monkeys. The city of Malibu should compromise: let him build one house, but only under the condition that he pay CA and US income and property taxes in perpetuum.
posted by koeselitz at 2:25 PM on December 23, 2009


World Famous has it. That house is going up in a fire zone and it will not be there in a hundred years. Have you ever seen George Lucas' place? It is quite visible on google satellite view. He put it on a valley bottom and dug out a 5 acre lake next to it; he has his own fire station on the property. One day we are likely to watch CNN coverage of half Marin County burning to the ground while George's private fire department is hosing down his roof while flames rage in the background.

This is Burning Man.
posted by bukvich at 2:27 PM on December 23, 2009


I know the fellow, Zuma Jay, that is mentioned in the article. Used to live near him in one of the canyons in Malibu. Was not aware that he had gotten on the city council though, been years seince I've lived down there. I had to chuckle a bit when I saw his name in the story, his home isn't exactly a model of sustainable developement, it's a very large three or four floor affair with tennis court set into the side of one of the canyons, hanging off the cliff like a lot of the developement there.

That said, I certainly agree with him that there's no need to be building more houses on top of undeveloped ridges.
posted by Jawn at 3:33 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


It might get loud.
posted by The Deej at 3:40 PM on December 23, 2009


Let him build his compound. Negativland will burn it to the ground.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 4:32 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


so this *is* U2's Negativland :)
posted by liza at 6:25 PM on December 23, 2009


It's funny, cos while I make use of the letter "U" and the numeral "2" every day, I don't like U2.

Fig leaf to protect me from charges of snobbery: I still enjoy all of "Songs From The Big Chair". How you like them apples?
posted by everichon at 6:29 PM on December 23, 2009


I fully support this if it also involves paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:31 PM on December 23, 2009


I'd really like to see where (like, on a map) those houses are going. That there isn't anything that shows me on the site makes me a bit suspicious. Projects I've worked on have gone through the whole California Coastal review process, and had fights with neighbors, so I've seen a lot of this weasely stuff before. Basically the Leaves in the Wind site is a clusterfuck of logical fallacies. But, some other points:

1. That the site keeps mentioning that the total building area is only just over an acre on 156 total acres isn't that big a deal - just going off the photo included in the video, the building locations will be quite spread out, so the total project footprint of 1.15 acres has a much larger visual impact. Another odd thing: the "myths and facts" section talks about the houses not being McMansions, giving the developers' own definition of what a McMansion is, but then says that they'll all be only 10,000 square feet. 10,000 square feet is pretty fucking big. There are plenty bigger, but that's not a number to brush aside. I'd be more impressed if they consolidated all the construction in one small part of the 156 acres and donated the rest to the Nature Conservancy.

2. This an awesome site to check out in general, but here's the general location viewed from a helicopter flying over the ocean (clicking on the photo will take you to a MUCH larger photo). It seems like the site is located a little further up the ridge than the scope of the photograph, but as you can see, the area is hardly pristine.

3. I don't know if USGBC has their "Homes" version of LEED out yet, but no way are these things getting Platinum (video says Platinum, site text says Gold). As it is, most of the features mentioned are just bolt-on pieces of hardware and equipment. You can really start scoring points in LEED when you re-use existing building stock or build in an urban area. Building on a greenfield, on top of a mountain, in a sparsely populated area does almost nothing for you in the way of public transportation access, bike accessibility, or site selection. Everything they're doing LEED-wise, other than passive solar heating and arguably daylighting, is easily achievable just by spending more money than you would normally, not by any sort of innovative design. They'll earn a significant number of LEED points just by virtue of building in California and following the state energy code.

4. I work in San Diego, where Wally Cunningham is based, and my firm has actually gone up against him for a project, and lost. My boss at that firm used to work for Wally, and I got to walk through a project of his while it was under construction (the one called "ray" on his site) - normally he does excellent work. I realize these are in the very early stages of design, but they're really not more than brain farts at this point, even recycling the 20-year old Neil Denari curving plane/outside surface becomes floor becomes wall becomes ceiling becomes outside surface thing again. Meh. I'm surprised they're parading a bunch of sketchup models around like they're something awesome at this point, but hopefully they'll develop into something better.

5. As others are saying, those houses are toast. Getting a high LEED rating will mean reducing irrigation amounts, which will basically mean the landscape design will consist of unirrigated native plants, and we know what happens to those in the hills above Malibu. Note the blackened sticks in the video when Wally's walking around the site.

In the end though, it's pretty much a given that somebody will develop these sites at some point. It could be a lot worse than what The Edge wants to do. The really environmental thing to do would be to donate the land as parkland, but if the sites are going to be developed, the proposal might be the best option going.
posted by LionIndex at 8:39 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The really crazy thing is that the world has a say if you want to build on your hunk of land. AFAIK, this is privately owned property. Ultimately, the question here seems to be whether Evans gets to have a hand in the development, or someone else. The biggest objections are most likely from neighboring developments who already got theirs and want to stop others from getting their piece.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:20 PM on December 23, 2009


The biggest objections are most likely from neighboring developments who already got theirs and want to stop others from getting their piece.

Kind of like the older houses in Sedona, AZ which suddenly found their zillion-dollar views of the red rocks being blocked by brand new buildings which adhered to the McMansion theory of building. I think there's a law in Britain which forbids this, the law of ancient lights, but since my knowledge of such things is from a Davis Grubb book, that may be fabrication and not actual law.

But yeah. I got mine, shut the door behind me on my way in. That was the mindset of people in Sedona, and seems to be the mindset of many across the country today.
posted by hippybear at 11:40 PM on December 23, 2009


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