Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Revolution by the People

Urban areas of the country have been experiencing a boom over the last decade. My guess is it's cyclical. People like myself had parents that grew up in the city and moved to the suburbs for all the usual reasons that I don't intend to go into. Their offspring grew up in safe environments with good schools and not much to do. We couldn't walk anywhere worthwhile. It was too far to ride our bikes to anything enjoyable. Now that we are old enough and able to live where we want we've decided to move back to the cities.

Suburban areas are feeling the new vibe of urban living as well. Many older suburbs are reviving their Main Street and building urban style housing. Subdivisions are being built with sidewalks, streetlamps, center courtyards and thankfully garages in the rear off of alleys.

The great thing about St. Louis' rebirth in particular is that it has been instituted by individuals. People, couples, families moved back into the city for reasonably priced housing stock. They renovated houses and brought back streets and neighborhoods that had been written off for dead.

Big time developers followed the little guys. They came in and took on high profile projects. Turning old warehouses into lofts, and former offices into high end dining. These guys get the press. These guys get a pat on the back from the mayor and their day in the sun for being so forward thinking and "saving" our city.

I wish I could post a picture of who actually is saving this city. The picture would be a group shot of thousands of regular people. They'd be wearing their weekend work clothes and holding their power tools and smiling. Smiling because they are proud of the work they've done.

All things being cyclical (including this blog) I just hope that the flight to the suburbs will be a little less harsh the next time around. If we can put into practice some of the truths we've learned about urban living in the last few decades maybe people will have a more difficult time deciding where to live because they have so many great options.

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