Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

One nation, divisible

I try to keep the blog focused on community revitalization, which granted is a pretty broad topic and therefore allows me to write about many different issues, and you can argue that institutionalized racism is very much relevant to urban revitalization, since center cities tend to be the places where minorities, especially African-Americans, live, and the willingness to live in and financially assist center cities when necessary often references race and racism.

Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic Monthly has a great article in the September issue, "Fear of a Black President," about the election of President Obama, the post-election response, and the current campaign.

He cites the work of a graduate economics student which found the vote for Obama depressed somewhat because of people unwilling to vote for an African-American candidate.  That doesn't surprise me.  In fact, I have thought for a long time that if John McCain wasn't so out there, and if he hadn't picked such a scary candidate for vice president, that he would have been elected.  But it turns out that people will vote African-American if the alternative is scary-crazy.

Also see "The Urban Archipelago: It's the Cities, Stupid," the post-2004 election screed by the editors of The Stranger, Seattle's alternative newsweekly.

It basically made the point that it is the cities and the East and West Coasts that are primarily democratic/progressive and that the interior of the country is conservative/Republican.

When you weight the map of "red-blue" by population, the country isn't as conservative dominated as it appears.
2004 election results. Blue = Democrat; Red = Republican. Image from The Stranger.

Note: it happens that I was traveling last week, and one place I stayed had the book by Janny Scott about (Stanley) Ann Dunham, Pres. Obama's mother, A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother. It's an interesting book, and given my interest in public and entrepreneurial markets and cultural-indigeneous industries, it made me want to read her dissertation, as well as another book mentioned, Peasant Marketing in Java.

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