Thursday, November 03, 2005

Don't Suburbanize the City

I was never familiar enough with the late Ed Bacon's contribution to the urban fabric here in Philadelphia to have my own opinion, but given Sandy Smith's explanations of what he was responsible for I have to concur with the basic point - suburbanizing the city is bad. Certainly urban life could use a bit more of some of the things people associate with suburban life - better schools, safer/cleaner streets, etc... - but the urban spaces should not be recreated in the suburban mold. There are plenty of suburbs where people can live, but bringing some of those influences into the city means, to a large degree, embracing the worst of both worlds.

Society Hill is a "nice" neighborhood. It's certainly the neighborhood that everyone from outside who comes through the city points to and says "wow, maybe city living isn't so bad." It's also a boring neighborhood which lacks the basic urban amenities which make city living what it is. It's a relatively small neighborhood, so it isn't as if it's that isolated, but it's large enough to reduce one key feature of urban existence - walkability.