Thursday, October 15, 2009

Conventional Wisdom, Empiricism is Calling


The following is the playbook that the Conventional Wisdom follows, thinking what is necessary for the evitalization of Downtowns. The CW slowly moves down the checklist one after the other. When reality sets in that what they've been told (and led to believe) really isn't achieving what they hoped (not that Conventional Wisdom ever puts cause and effect together), on to the next magic bullet:
  • Access! A new Highway will deliver shoppers and commuters and tourists and sweetness and happiness and rainbows and lions and tigers and bears.
  • Convention Center HOTEL! Silly us, how could we have a convention center without a convention center hotel?!
  • Ummm, ANOTHER STADIUM!!!! Gotta give those billionaire owners their own stadium. They say so themselves. Just ask'em. It'll make for a super killer one-stop Entertainment District, like a Chuck-e-Cheez!
  • A museum. I don't care to or for what. It's the missing piece. Now sit down and shut up. I know what I want and I need it now!
  • Parking!!!! Duh. What were we thinking?!?!?! Where would all of those theoretical tourists park when they come to visit HappyTown???!!!11!
  • Recruiting new Corporations is the answer. If we only offer some more tax breaks they'll come and bring jobs and they'll eradicate the homeless via secret deathstar teleportation gamma ray thingamabob.
  • We clearly have to convert these streets to one-way. This grid is just so congested. It's the only way. How can we get people out of here as quickly as possible so they don't have to deal with all this messy urbanism?? They are holding us back as a City!!!
  • Pritzker Prize winners. Who is the latest architectural fad turned celebrity? Lib-a-skuh-what? Sounds foreign. I'll take one of those! He'll save us like the Spaghetti Monster himself patting us on our head as we flash back to our childhood helplessness, dependent upon a paternal figure to take us on a Summer Vacation to the Disney Land of urbanism.
  • Man, we sure are running out of ideas here. How 'bout an old-timey lookin' rubber tired trolley, and there ain't no trolley like a rubber tired trolley cuz a rubber tired trolley takes gas. It'll keep everybody reminiscing about the good ol' times like the 50's (when women were in the kitchen, minorities in the woodshed, and gays in the closet).
  • Homeless Shelter. No, not to feed, house, treat, or train. You're so naive. We gotta warehouse those leaches. Keep 'em outta site.
  • Retail. Oh fuck! We added all that parking and Gap, Chilis, and Planet Hollywood all say we need more. What are we gonna do?!??!! Might as well, adhere to their coersion. They're in the business. Free market knows best. Oh, they also say they need free rent.
  • I think we're almost there. One missing ingredient to HappyTown fulfilling our wildest fantasies and rainbows shining overhead and raining kittens daily. But, what is it? I can't think of it. Fukit. We're fine as is. I've got my three car garage, a boat, a hummer, couple a' kiddos parked in front of the big screen ("keep 'em entertained Tawmmy the Tank Engine! Man, I'm tired of dealing with their shit" /mumbles under breath.), some neighbors (that I don't know), and, hmmm, what's this in the mail? Divorce filing?
May I introduce you to HappyTown:

http://www.mtgfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/detroit-skyline.jpg

Detroit!

Mmm-mmm-mmmmmm. Sure does look pretty from over here (in...another...country - with better healthcare, education, no highways ripping apart neighborhoods or disconnecting from waterfronts).