Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Still Not Over It

So I'm mad and part of my new...last-July-I-had-the-biggest-argument-in-my-life's day resolution I am no longer going to try to so desperately pretend I'm not mad when I'm actually furious. It does me no good and is probably going to lead to a heart attack. I'm already on blood pressure pills. Though on that count my doc's right. I could stand to lose a few pounds but stress can't be helpful.

So let's play catch up. A few weeks ago the Southfield City Council approved the expansion of a church for a parking lot. The town generally hated that decision. Or at least most of the people I talk to hated that decision. But I thought that was it. But during the meeting Council asked for adjustments to the site plan so for the next few weeks this is going to be a thing.

You know maybe there is something I'm missing about this particular church. I'm not great at reading site plans, but for me this isn't about the church. This is about the The Golden Corral and The Walmart,. Heck its even about the developments that got through but were butchered in the legislative process.

Okay so eventually I'm going to try to sort my thoughts out logically and play devil's advocate with myself but before I do I need to handle the elephant in my brain. Thing I need to say but really don't want to say.

The Elephant
A lot of these arguments stem from a "we don't want to urban" perspective. Which is okay. That's a life choice. I disagree with that life choice and will explain why. But a decent contingent of those people are coming from a "We don't want to be Detroit" perspective and a lot of that is a thinly veiled "We don't want poor people OR (The or is important) black people coming into the city"

Again it's not everyone. And there are other reasons to not want the church, or anything else there that I will argue against momentarily but I needed to clear the air and get that out of my system. It's been festering there for years. And in light of the petition to roll back the civil rights ordinance I felt I needed to hit it dead on. To say clearly and loudly I may be tolerant but I'm not that tolerant.

On Urbanism

You know in college I took up a cities of the world class. I got a horrible grade and thought the professor was a bore, but it did get me thinking.  What is a city. In short it's people.

A city is people.

And all the social, economic, and engineering infrastructure it takes to support human life.  It's just that when you start talking about lots of people things scale up. You need more food, you need more water, you need more sanitation, more trade, more everything.

But it all works out because the resources it takes to deliver said resources to people generally decline per capita as population density increases. It's easier to transport goods. Water pressure holds up better. Teachers can teach more than one family's students at a time.

Heck I view the creation of the city as a technical innovation on the same level as the wheel.

My view is that despite all the problems on an aggregate level cities beat the alternative by a country mile.

But on the whole the entire point of a city (the place not the government), a social innovation, is to meet the needs of the people who dwell within it and provide them the services required for daily life.

The Heart Is Stronger Than the Head

On a more personal note cities are where things happen. Where enough people live to make things move.

Everybody has a story.
Everybody has a life.
That's a city's glory.

Too Many People
On the other hand maybe I'm a bit too nieve. I'm with more people brings more problems. Crime. Dirt. Unemployment. The whole 9, all the same I would argue that the function of a city's government are to mitigate these problems, not by eliminating the beast itself but by finding creative solutions.

Like say a police force to help deal with security, or a Parks and Rec department to preserve green areas or a Fire Department to deal with well fire or a Sanitation Department to help deal with what do you think?!

Again all of these problems would exist but having people gathered in one place makes them easier to deal with than if folks were scattered and in a million places. I'd rather be murdered in a city where someone will find my body and find justice than in the woods any day. Not that it's exactly a choice I like.

But I Get It
Like I said wanting to live a pastural life is a choice. And I'm not some Stalinist who would forcibly move people. But I find a lot of the reasons people don't like city's are not inherent and furthermore bringing this back around the moves my community wants to make in the attempt to "preserve nature and residential characteristics" exasperates these types of problems.

Allow Me to Turn that Detroit Comparison on It's Head

Only an idiot would argue that Detroit has no problems. But my view has always been that most of those problems are social problems, caused by the sort of micro decisions being advocated.  Why is there so much crime? Well because there is so much unemployment.  Why is there so much unemployment? Because businesses left the city. Why did businesses leave the city. Well because the monied residents left. Why did they leave?   Do I have to go back and mire in that bullshit?

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