"...if I was just a little bit taller.I wish I was a baller.I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a batand a '64 Impala."
But most residents I talk with aren’t really interested in being a “world-class city.” They just want a great city to call home. Unfortunately, as we heard today, many city leaders dismiss that as too prosaic. They figure even if we could fix all the potholes, mow all the parks, address all the code complaints, pick up all the stray animals — all of those things will just be forgotten in time. But an ornamental bridge, a convention center hotel, a big toll road — those are lasting monuments.
That perspective misses the point. The choice isn’t “either, or” — either we clink our champagne glasses as one unnecessary boondoggle after another drains our city coffers while our basic infrastructure falls apart or we myopically fill every pothole but live in a city bereft of beauty and grandeur.
We can have the best of both. We should do big projects. But not because they might finally be big enough to be seen from space or because they may (hopefully!) pique the interest of a writer at some obscure architecture journal. We should do big projects because they enhance the everyday lives of our residents.We should do big projects that are useful.