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, January 01, 2017

Best wishes for 2017

Washington Monument

People costumed as Chiquita banana and a chicken on New Year's Day, 13th and U Streets NW
People costumed as Chiquita banana and a chicken on New Year's Day, 13th and U Streets NW


At 9:19 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

Very off topic, and yet someone on topic:

In context:

My comment on retail, and your frustrations, is that retail is just a component of the Growth Machine.

Which just cares about making sure it is leased up, not in creating a sustainable retail district.

the Growth Machine is just a weaker theory of capitalism; weaker because it is using a local language while capitalism is ultimately global.

The pushback identified (in the article, national) and in your case local are actually the same.

The scope is vastly different, of course, as the local political power is, well, highly contrasted by national politics but also just in power vs. global money flows.

In sum, making your city the loci of global money flows probably isn't the best way to become a "strong market" city.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

not sure I fully "agree" having not read the article. The city as a center of local capital benefits, yes, that's where I disagree, but at the same time it comes at a huge cost, which I think is the point you are making, and of course, I agree on that dimension.

Your general points are of course, spot on. But the city becomes "a strong market" in a global-capital sense, but at the serious loss of local identity and local business development.

Comparable to how I write about how economic impact studies of the impact of big sports events like the Super Bowl have serious analytical defects.

Since most of the money people spend is on transportation (airfare) and hotel, most of the money "spent" has limited impact on the local economy, especially in terms of the multiplier effect

Not to mention how e.g. with the NFL (or the Olympics) events for spectators are organized in such a way that what is presented is de-localized and is designed to capture all of the discretionary time of the participant, leaving little time or interest in consuming "local businesses and non-game activities."

The same goes with being a center of global capital. The local economy benefits, but commerce, retail development, property ownership is reshaped on international capital nonlocal lines so that over long periods of time things change radically.

E.g., how even the most connected restaurant groups in NYC are getting priced out of certain locations, and these are businesses with access to a lot of capital, local connections, etc., ... Union Square Cafe, etc.

(I sent an email to Ed Keenan a columnist for the Toronto Star because he wrote a piece about an arts building being priced out of the market because of how the province does property tax assessment, laying this out in the DC context, and he actually responded--I've written him before. Anyway, Toronto has the same issue.)

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I sucked at econ in college. I just don't have good high level math and graphic interpretation skills.

SO I didn't do well in my International Trade economics class. But decades before, the professor did an input/output analysis (flows) paper on Washtenaw County Michigan and the impact of the university on the local economy.

It's the same kind of analysis that needs to be done for sports events but isn't. Because the costs of a university are mostly labor, the spending on tuition etc. stays local.

It turns out the analysis was critical in the development of "regional science", but I never read it, but obviously it influenced me. (It was done in 1952 but not written up til 1978.)

Sorting Charles Tiebout - American Economic Association

It's not the same for an airplane flight or a hotel stay.

interestingly, it turns out I also didn't know that the professor I had, Wolfgang Stolper, translated from German an important work in the field of urban economics on the value of location/aggomeration economies.

At 2:09 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

to your point

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I bring this to your attention because your apt frequent mentioning of this issue:

but it's a "dept. of the obvious" kind of article.

Using the Tiebout concept of "people vote with their feet," of course people choose to live in nicer (read safer) areas. The people who live in the less safe areas hope the areas will improve, and do so because it is affordable. (That's why I lived in the H St. NE starting back in the late 1980s. It was close to Downtown, but somewhat gnarly as was much of the city. Because I don't do drugs I didn't have to worry too much about getting caught up in that kind of violence. But it was nearby.)

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

And this, in Toronto, where the Molson Amphitheatre -- Molson being a Canadian specific product and brand -- is now the Budweiser Amphitheatre, because InBev outbid the "local" (well, bi-national, company).

From the article:

These associations we hold with significant places are unaffected by things like the contracts between building owners and their sponsors. And why should they be? No one paid us to start calling these places some different name; no one asked us for our agreement to any shift in identity for the places that feel like essential parts of our city, even parts of ourselves. Why should we wedge some awkward corporate brand name into our conversation because of a business transaction that had nothing to do with us?

Here’s the good part. We don’t have to. They can change what they call these places, but they can’t change what they mean to us.


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