Monday, July 4, 2011

Now This is what I'm Talking About!

Keep your suburban out of my urban!

I just caught this post over on - Not everybody wants to live in the City that always sleeps: Neighbors implore developer to come up with bigger project.

The flood of former suburbanites returning to cities has unintentional consequences. People who have grown up on quiet streets suddenly realize they're not compatible with all the hustle and bustle of urban life and begin to tame the city. The bars and cafes they moved there for and used to frequent, become the annoying neighbors they call the cops on at night. Ordinances are passed that not only hurt cafes and restaurants, but the arts and all that's interesting - everything that revived the area in the first place.

It's a big "mixed-use" failure. Salem has curtailed its hours. Not all is congenial in Lynn City Hall's favorite waterfront yard-stick, Quincy's Marina Bay (we can do better than that). Some lameness has even been imposed on NYC's Lower East Side. You know what? Not every neighborhood needs to be a family neighborhood. Let's have a variety of neighborhoods, for everyone!

But weren't classic urban neighborhoods always full of shops and restaurants on the ground and apartments above? They were. They might have been lower rent, or occupied by the area shop owners. People might have been more accepting that this was life in the city. Or maybe, they were just used to it. What's different now, is that the real estate boom and bust brought the condos, and gosh darn it people paid big bucks for them and they're going to have life the way they want it.

I bought a condo in a downtown, too. But, I fully expected city life and that's what I'm going to fight for. Downtown Lynn is perfectly situated for it and has the right kind of built environment. I hope Lynn takes a lesson from successes and failures elsewhere, and understands the recent blowback against the suburbanization of our urban spaces. A little extra planning (and soundproofing) can go a long way in creating a successful "mixed-use" area, as well.

And here in Downtown Lynn, we're saying no more VNA's - I mean the office park-style structure they're putting up in DTL without storefronts. The organization's cool, but their new structure is ruining the chance to rebuild/restore our entrance to DTL and outright ignores the recommendations of our Market Street Vision plan because it is anti-urban. Next time, we'll take inspiration from the South End and put up stronger opposition.


  1. Where did public review go for the VNA(A)!?

  2. We were told there was going to be one, but if there ever was, we weren't notified. There's just a little bit of outrage over that.

  3. I'm a little late, but Hallelujah! I live in a suburb now and the nightlife is nonexistent, not even a beach to go walking on. You walk down main street after midnight up here and more than likely you'll get stopped by the numerous police cruisers.


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