What’s the plan now? @ Strong Towns

Election 2012 Note:

You should read this @ Strong Towns …

There is something great about experiencing an election with a group of strangers over a beer in a public place.

Unlike the last Presidential election, I stayed in this year. It was quite the juxtaposition to 2008 and 2010 (read: Sweeny’s Pub, plenty of ale and countless mini-corn dogs). Last night I enjoyed my girlfriend’s delicious Midwestern-style dinner of chicken and biscuits and a nice, relaxing night in – yet, it didn’t quite rival the excitement of experiencing election results with a large group of strangers over a pint. There is something excellent about being surrounded by people from both parties, cheering for different candidates, all in the same space.

We need to create built environments all over this country where these interactions can happen more often. It’s one reason that I stress our need for more quality “third” places.

Now, I’m sorry for the rest of this post (read: possible grammatical errors and wayward thoughts). Like the rest of America, I was up late glued to the television and social media, and all I can say is: Well America – that was fun, but can we please get back to upbeat television ads about fast food, laundry detergent, beer and shiny electronics?

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This is a post-election results tweet from Minnesota Public Radio’s Bob Collins (from NewsCut). He nailed it.

What’s the plan now? That’s a good question.

I’ve often contemplated what this election mean for America’s towns and cities? I’m not really sure. My guess is that is resembles something like what Bob Collins’ tweet was hinting.

In my mind, one of our political faults is that we ignore how we build places and don’t have anything that resembles a consensus on urban and rural infrastructure development. Our collective culture is still set in the idea that large infrastructure projects will help us grow our way out of debt [See “Debate Questions” on the blog and the related podcast].

The establishment, both liberal and conservative, view projects like the $750 million St. Croix Bridge and the $125 million 169/494 interchange as catalysts of growth – not agents of future debt and long-term maintenance obligations. It’s embedded in our economic culture and how we develop our landscapes.

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One comment

  1. How bout we create a book called “Build This, Not That” with a side by side comparison of places. Similar to “Eat This, Not That” and how they breakdown nutritional contents we do the same but for cost of construction/yearly maintenance, quality of place, environmental issues and so on… think of it as one of those Idiot’s Guide Books that we all know and love.

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