We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares and go Downtown

“As soon as anyone on Earth could see and talk to anyone else by pressing a button, most of the need for cities vanished.” – Arthur C. Clarke

Are cities dead and we continue to maintain them with life support? Think about what technology allows us to do from anyplace we choose to be. We have the ability to work and conduct business, carry out personal relationships, be entertained – anywhere, anytime frequently without leaving our homes. Even the oldest, most basic tools of technology, the telephone and white/yellow pages, can bring the world to our front door.

There is a debate occurring locally involving the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team and the community about how well the team is supported by fans and local businesses. In my opinion, the team needs the support a lot more the city of Charlotte and its inhabitants needs the team. But what is happening here is bigger and arguable more important than, for instance, “sports”. It points to the need for a lot of business or entertainment providers to rethink their business strategies when it comes to aligning themselves to any “city center”. Sure, I see a lot of development in Charlotte where areas that were slums at best are now pricey hi-rise condos. The people who live there are young, aggressive, childless professionals who tend to have plenty of disposable income. But, most people, including true families, live in the suburbs and beyond. As the cities become denser with this more affluent class and the businesses that cater to their needs, why would there rest of us care to set foot there if we don’t have to or more to the point if it doesn’t have what we need? (since I began commuting to the very heart of Charlotte 16 months ago from a neighboring county the one thing I noticed missing from downtown are businesses that meet any of my day-to-day needs – I still have to go to the mall or the newer style “shopping villages”)

We’re probably just feeling the pain associated with rampant, unrestrained growth felt by every other large city.


About Marcus

Who me? Introverted, neurotic, self-absorbed, increasingly cynical observer of human nature and part time social critic in hiding. Most of my life spent avoiding growing up. The naive idealistic passions of youth have evolved into the eclectic eccentricities of adulthood. Northeast Florida small-town native, related to people I can't relate to. Simultaneously my own best friend and worst enemy. Politically and spiritually unaffiliated, my personal ideologies put me all over the map or off it completely.
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One Response to We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares and go Downtown

  1. naamaire says:

    I think that technology changes the nature of cities, certainly. Here in St. Louis the affluent once had to live within a few miles of the river, in order to oversee their freight operations, the advent of the automobile moved the wealthy districts westward (since who wants to live next to a warehouse if they don’t have to?) Telecommunications has, and continue to, bring further changes–my mother s a freelance writer and editor, once she would have had to live in New York in order to do what she does.
    But I think that cities will never become obsolete because some people will always want to gather together (just as some will always be loners) and also because manufacturing requires proximity. You can send the plans for a widget via e-mail, but the widget itself still has to get schlepped on a truck from the foundry to the machinist to the electroplating plant and so on.

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