dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I pedaled along the edge of the road, climbing back over the ridge which separated my neighborhood from those to the south. As I ascended, I looked left, then right, at the walls of the valley I was climbing. The remnants of what had been a soaring, concrete arch span caught my eyes. Built during the City Beautiful movement, it had been imploded when I was 5. 37 years later, I still remembered the picture in the newspaper.

The day before, I visited an urban mall. I remembered it from college, when it still had shops. This day, the hallways were an event space. Maybe a couple hundred meters from downtown, its construction wiped swaths of a struggling neighborhood from the map. And it hadn't been long before that I'd noticed a sign in another neighborhood, one where a pedestrian mall had been tried to little success and much lasting damage.

Today, my city is increasingly vital. Project after project is springing up, but substantially in neighborhoods where there is cream to skim off. And while I welcome new activity and opportunity, all I need to do is look around to see how previous attempts caused more damage than they fixed. Things have definitely improved in many ways even just in the last 10 years, but the fruits of those changes are often inaccessible to substantial swaths of the population. So my challenge, to myself and you, is this: how do we steward a city where instead of simply concentrating amenities for some, the improvements are in reach of everyone?

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dariaphoebe

May 2017

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