4.16.2007

False Choice

Chaka Fattah recently pooh-poohed the issue of Center City development
at a gathering of yuppie planners and design geeks by saying he was
"more interested in rebuilding lives than just the skyline." His base
is big enough to risk offending the yuppie planners and design geeks
with this blatant choice of neighborhoods in the ongoing battle
between neighborhoods and Center City.

Only that's a false choice, as the Center City District points out in
its latest report about what a vibrant downtown means for all of
Philadelphia. And it's a truth I subscribe to: without a booming
downtown, you don't have nearly enough jobs, tax base, or amenities to
go around to all the neighborhoods. Make it a choice between
neighborhoods and downtowns, and both will suffer; link them together,
and both will thrive.

Of course, "trickle down" is only as good as the flow. And so just as
it's not good to stop the flow at the top just because it's already at
the top, it's also not good to make it hard for stuff to flow down
from the top to the bottom. And so I hope that we who see the
connection between a bustling downtown and more thriving neighborhoods
will also work hard to make sure that the good stuff that happens
downtown does in fact get to be enjoyed by the more hurting
neighborhoods.

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