Very interesting piece on The Wall Street Journal op-ed page today about “cool cities” versus “family-friendly cities,” suggesting cities like Dallas do better because they attract well-employed young breeders rather than sidewalk hipsters. The essay, by The New Geography author Joel Kotkin, cites research that runs against the grain of some of the “creative class” wisdom of which we have seen so much in recent years.
The piece caught my own attention for several reasons, chief of which was that I am writing on related subjects in my column in the paper this week. I suggest in the column that an awful lot of naturally occurring market-driven re-development is happening in Dallas in venues just outside of the old downtown. So, I wonder, why we have to invest billions in tax money subsidizing incredibly expensive make-overs of the asbestos silos downtown. Why not wait and let the market decide where the cool class should live?
In a way, Kotkin reinforces my point: His argument would be that the best interests of Dallas have little to do with downtown. So why make downtown such a priority?
I spent a lot of yesterday walking downtown. The homeless are only visible because nobody else is down there. Downtown is dull because it is owned by dullards. They need to lose their shirts and their property. Let somebody else come in at a really low basis. Downtown needs flea markets, bars and cheap hotels, not fascist parks and subsidized candy-ass gourmet grocery stores.
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It needs some blood in its veins for a change. Bring on the bankruptcies, brother. --Jim Schutze