This Korean tale of an ancient stream which got paved over to make a freeway, before becoming a nightmare of congestion and stress for inhabitants, and then being painstakingly restored, at great expense, back into a stream and pedestrian zone again, is an excellent case for permaculture observation, planning, ethics and design.
In the 1970s, it was considered a symbol of progress when the Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, Korea, was covered and a road and elevated freeway were built above it. But by the year 2000, the Cheonggye area was considered the most congested and noisy part of Seoul, badly in need of revitalization, and people agreed that nothing could be done to improve the area as long as the road and freeway remained. — preservenet.com (click the link to read more).
We’ve ignorantly spent the last half century (in particular) building structures that will be wholly impractical in a post-peak oil world. Retrofitting and reversing is an expensive undertaking, in terms of cost, energy, and environmental impact during transition. In other words — we would do well to consider what we’re doing, and get it right the first time!