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Freddy C

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I would like to take a step back and give greater consideration to what JoeDowntown had to say. First, let me say that I have been thrilled by this forum. The knowledge of many of the participants, including Joe, has provided me with information about development going on in GR. Not currently living in GR, I found this information timely and satisfying...and still do.

I do not want to sacrifice what this forum has provided me, and others I

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In light of this, I will follow JoeDowntown advice and tone down my bringing to the forefront of discussion, truthful topics that make people uncomfortable.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hold on there for a minute. In my experience communities are like spider webs. One cannot touch one part of the web without it sending a shiver or a shockwave over the rest of the web.

For example one cannot talk about urban life on this urban planet and limit it to just buildings or development. These things are synergistically linked to society, school, economics, religiohn, and yes even race. To those that are uncomfortable with it, I would encourage them to ask themselves why they are uncomfortable.

One cannot deny the facts about race and race relations in West Michigan, specifically Grand Rapids. These are:

-The State of Michigan is the most racial segregated State in the US

-The top 3 most racially segregated cities in the US are in the State of Michigan

-Grand Rapids is in the top 5 in regard to racial segregation in the US.

-The US Civil Rights Commission, in a recent study of Grand Rapids stated that in some ways the racial divide here is worse than the South in the 50's and 60's.

Freddy is not imagining things or even necessarily bashing Grand Rapids. He is merely pointing out the truth.

Whether one wants to recognize it or not...its all connected.

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I would like to take a step back and give greater consideration to what JoeDowntown had to say. First, let me say that I have been thrilled by this forum. The knowledge of many of the participants, including Joe, has provided me with information about development going on in GR. Not currently living in GR, I found this information timely and satisfying...and still do.

I do not want to sacrifice what this forum has provided me, and others I

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With all due respect Freddy, Your are being a tad too dramatic. I highly doubt the response from people on this forum has anything to do with them feeling "uncomfortable" with talking about any problems in this city. You original topic post was actually a good one. Along the line, it became "Dutch, white GR is oppressive, hates minorities, and you people cant see it! Do you expect people that live in GR and wants to see ALL of it's people do better are just going to sit by and not defend our city?

Joe, After almost 50 posts, saw that it was getting too heated and off topic and told everyone to move along. I agree. It was not getting anywhere. You sometimes just have to agree to disagree and go from there. Nobody is going to censure you or ban you, so the whole martyr thing isn't going to get you anywhere. Taking a time out is the right step. Just do it with a little more grace and lets talk about the stuff we do all agree on.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No...you are wrong. The Topic has always been the same. The introduction simply dealt with said EFFECT...then as converstation developed....it embarked upon CAUSE. People did not have as much of a problem when I was simply noting EFFECT. People started having the problem when I started noting CAUSE, much of which is directly or indireclty linked to the Naked emperor of race.

My powers of observation and pattern recognition is not void of the behaviorism of many when confronted with the issues of race. People would much rather discuss most other social issues than race. I know a recognizable pattern when I see one. Its called DENIAL.

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I would like to take a step back and give greater consideration to what JoeDowntown had to say. First, let me say that I have been thrilled by this forum. The knowledge of many of the participants, including Joe, has provided me with information about development going on in GR. Not currently living in GR, I found this information timely and satisfying...and still do.

I do not want to sacrifice what this forum has provided me, and others I

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Hold on there for a minute.  In my experience communities are like spider webs.  One cannot touch one part of the web without it sending a shiver or a shockwave over the rest of the web. 

For example one cannot talk about urban life on this urban planet and limit it to just buildings or development.  These things are synergistically linked to society, school, economics, religiohn, and yes even race.  To those that are uncomfortable with it, I would encourage them to ask themselves why they are uncomfortable.

One cannot deny the facts about race and race relations in West Michigan, specifically Grand Rapids. These are:

-The State of Michigan is the most racial segregated State in the US

-The top 3 most racially segregated cities in the US are in the State of Michigan

-Grand Rapids is in the top 5 in regard to racial segregation in the US.

-The US Civil Rights Commission, in a recent study of Grand Rapids stated that in some ways the racial divide here is worse than the South in the 50's and 60's.

Freddy is not imagining things or even necessarily bashing Grand Rapids.  He is merely pointing out the truth.

Whether one wants to recognize it or not...its all connected.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I was going to point this out in the other topic, but I'll post it here, as I think this is a better place for it. I'm viewing this as the topic to discuss what others "feel uncomfortable".

I'll agree with Dave, and even Freddy to an extent. Racism does exist in GR, I see it everyday, some of it in a more blatant fashion than others. Do I think there is racial profiling in GR.. Yes, by SOME police officers, but certainly not by all. Do I think racial demographics have something to do with home buyers? Yes, to some home buyers, but not all. It comes down to those that are willing to look past race and those who don't. Just as it comes down to those willing to make changes to the city, and some who are willing to sit and be happy the way things are.

An example. I live in what would be considered by some as "The Hood" of Grand Rapids, Sigsbee St. south of wealthy in GR (the SE side of GR). I'm white, as are my roommates. My neigborhood is 90% African American families. Most of them are complete nice, hard working individuals. HOWEVER, there have been times that i've driven down sigsbee, past groups of people who have no problem letting me know what race I am (whiteboy, cracker, honkey you name I've heard it). I've been at the stop sign of Sigsbee and Diamond and been yelled at that "I made a wrong turn" someplace. This is not EVERYONE but some.

My neighbor was a 22 year old, who hadn't worked in 4 years, when asked why, he just said to me he was happy sitting around with his friends, haning out and partying. He dropped out of school because it wasn't "fun" to him blah blah blah. This guy was OBVIOUSLY not doing anything to help himself. Now before I hear the "Racial Profiling" comment, I'd like to point out I've also lived in a trailer park in the farm country of Barry County. There are plenty of the "White Trash" people who sit in the same category, lacking motivation to make anything of themselves. The reason I bring this up, is because I know it's been said that there are lack of opportunities in this area for minorities. Now, i'm not going to call complete BS on that, however, I think a LOT of that has to do with self motivation, and how hard you're willing to work to get ahead. Does race play a roll, certainly at this time I think it does, but I would caution painting a whole area with a common brush. I know plenty of people of various races that are succeeding in this area, and doing very well at it. I know others who are not. I came from a family that was not wealthy in any manner, i've busted my tail, finished college, and now make a decent living doing what i love in an area I love.

That being said, as far as urban growth in areas, I think we've seen even on this board, people of all kinds of races, backgrounds and intererst who WANT to make a difference. It's THESE people that are slowly turning the city, it's attitude and it's landscape around. It's going to take time, you can't change an old city and old attitudes of a few hundred thousand people overnight

Sorry for the long post, just had a few things to say, and I'm sure there will be comments on it. I welcome them

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With abstention from talking about the race debate, as it is devisive, and i have no real expert opinion on it. I would like to say that it does seem, that we can talk about the good and the great that we may percieve going on in our city, but why can we not talk about the bad and ugly? If someone says something about Grand Rapids that does not make us tingle with joy, more power to them! We all need to learn to be less offended if someone doesnt think Grand Rapids is the " New Jerusalem", we all percieve ourselves living in. Sometimes, we can't see the truth, because we are so biased with our rose colored glasses.

I think everynow and then, a little criticism, no matter how obsurd one may percieve it, is good for Goose and Gander. More power to you Freddy!

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I was going to point this out in the other topic, but I'll post it here, as I think this is a better place for it.  I'm viewing this as the topic to discuss what others "feel uncomfortable".

I'll agree with Dave, and even Freddy to an extent.  Racism does exist in GR, I see it everyday, some of it in a more blatant fashion than others.  Do I think there is racial profiling in GR.. Yes, by SOME police officers, but certainly not by all.  Do I think racial demographics have something to do with home buyers? Yes, to some home buyers, but not all.  It comes down to those that are willing to look past race and those who don't.  Just as it comes down to those willing to make changes to the city, and some who are willing to sit and be happy the way things are.

An example.  I live in what would be considered by some as "The Hood" of Grand Rapids, Sigsbee St. south of wealthy in GR (the SE side of GR).  I'm white, as are my roommates.  My neigborhood is 90% African American families.  Most of them are complete nice, hard working individuals.  HOWEVER, there have been times that i've driven down sigsbee, past groups of people who have no problem letting me know what race I am (whiteboy, cracker, honkey you name I've heard it).  I've been at the stop sign of Sigsbee and Diamond and been yelled at that "I made a wrong turn" someplace.  This is not EVERYONE but some.

My neighbor was a 22 year old, who hadn't worked in 4 years, when asked why, he just said to me he was happy sitting around with his friends, haning out and partying.  He dropped out of school because it wasn't "fun" to him blah blah blah.  This guy was OBVIOUSLY not doing anything to help himself.  Now before I hear the "Racial Profiling" comment, I'd like to point out I've also lived in a trailer park in the farm country of Barry County.  There are plenty of the "White Trash" people who sit in the same category, lacking motivation to make anything of themselves.  The reason I bring this up, is because I know it's been said that there are lack of opportunities in this area for minorities.  Now, i'm not going to call complete BS on that, however, I think a LOT of that has to do with self motivation, and how hard you're willing to work to get ahead.  Does race play a roll, certainly at this time I think it does, but I would caution painting a whole area with a common brush.  I know plenty of people of various races that are succeeding in this area, and doing very well at it.  I know others who are not.  I came from a family that was not wealthy in any manner, i've busted my tail, finished college, and now make a decent living doing what i love in an area I love.

That being said, as far as urban growth in areas, I think we've seen even on this board, people of all kinds of races, backgrounds and intererst who WANT to make a difference.  It's THESE people that are slowly turning the city, it's attitude and it's landscape around.  It's going to take time, you can't change an old city and old attitudes of a few hundred thousand people overnight

Sorry for the long post, just had a few things to say, and I'm sure there will be comments on it.  I welcome them

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I do not view racism as a tit for tat. What I mean to say is that the concept of black racism does not negate the concept of white racism. Who

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After reading all the comments in the posts related to this topic, I must say that this is one of the more stimulating discussions I have read yet. Now, I am a relatively new member and do not profess to know the "inner workings" and full purpose of these forums, but I have observed enough to know that they are composed of intelligent, highly opinionated people. Most of the topics have been very informative, but lack topics that reflect upon deeper issues that relate to urbanism.

On that note, I openly welcome the comments of Freddy and others in regard to this issue, as it has provoked a higher level of thought aside from, let's say, the new development going up on ____Street. While that is all pertinent information, I think we should consider that these controversial issues directly relate to urbanism and we can all afford an occasional dissent in opinion. Personally, I am not content to live inside a self-defined bubble, rigidly built with only those philosophies that coincide with my belief system. I live to be enriched (and informed), which is why I was thrilled at this forum topic.

I think that as long as we leave out our biases and stay focused on the topic at hand (as it relates to urbanism--and this is IMPORTANT), these discussions will be a wonderful addition to diversify our forum topics. It's not useless blather and we all know that once it becomes that, someone will snap their fingers to refocus the topic. (Everyone seems compelled to respond...)

These are indeed heavy issues, but as long as we remain open to all perspectives (as no one perspective in more correct than the next), then these forums can continue to be conducted in a mature, scholarly fashion.

Freddy and all those who commented: Thank you for the paradigm shift.

Leah

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Lets try to stay on track and on topic. Once again we've lost sight of the fact that this is a forum dedicated to the city of Grand Rapids, not to the fight against racism.

Edit: Of course, I could be in the wrong place. Maybe I've misinterpretted the point of these forums.

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Lets try to stay on track and on topic.  Once again we've lost sight of the fact that this is a forum dedicated to the city of Grand Rapids, not to the fight against racism.

Edit:  Of course, I could be in the wrong place.  Maybe I've misinterpretted the point of these forums.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Social Issues are a major part of Urban living, as we all live down the street from each other, racism has an effect on the "Urban Health" of any area. Grand Rapids DOES have an issue with it, there's been town meetings to try and cool it.

With that said, I'd like to pose this question. How long does one hold on to the years of wrong doing? Now, I'm not dedicating this just to the "race" issue, i'll give an example. I'm as dutch/irish as they come. My Grandmother lived in German occupied Netherlands during WWII, she hates the Germans, won't even buy a German vehicle. Me, I don't agree with Hitler, but I certainly do not hold a grudge or a view of "wrong doing" to every german I run into.

Now, i'm CERTAINLY not saying that you should stop caring that up until 50 years ago African culture and People were looked down uppon in this country. We all know it happened. I can appologize till I'm blue in the face about what the founding people of this country did, it's not going to change a damn thing. There comes a point (we had a GREAT week long discussion in my Diversity in the US class in college about this subject), when everyone has to step back and say "You know, we screwed up, they screwed up, lets learn and move forward". Sitting around say they oppressed me for 300 years only points out a know fact, and a known flaw in American history. It's the whole "Naked Emporer" (<-disturbing image).

As for the laziness, unemployed, etc track, I have a few thoughts. Until 50 years ago minorities WERE treated differently, it's only recent that things have changed, so it's going to take some time and work (much like GR as a whole) to correct the wrong doings. Minorities were not given the opportunities of whites, that's known, and a lot of peoples parents are children of that generation. I think it takes a shift in the thinking of minority group (along with the majority group) to move past the issues. Look at children, I watch white kids, black kids, and hispanic kids play on the playground across the street in the afternoon. They have no "experience" with the grown up world. As they get older they start to learn, some from personal experience, but MANY i would think come from parenting, the differences, and history of race in this country. I believe there may be minorities that do indeed feel like "they can't move up" and are stuck, not because they lack skills and knowledge, but because it's the way they've been raised from childhood. Once again, it's a cultural shift in thinking. If i'm told from a young age that XYZ group is bad, they hate me, dad lost his job because of them, blah blah blah, I'm going to have a severly skewed vision of the world. 2 cents added.

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Social Issues are a major part of Urban living, as we all live down the street from each other, racism has an effect on the "Urban Health" of any area.  Grand Rapids DOES have an issue with it, there's been town meetings to try and cool it.

With that said, I'd like to pose this question.  How long does one hold on to the years of wrong doing?  Now, I'm not dedicating this just to the "race" issue, i'll give an example.  I'm as dutch/irish as they come.  My Grandmother lived in German occupied Netherlands during WWII, she hates the Germans, won't even buy a German vehicle.  Me, I don't agree with Hitler, but I certainly do not hold a grudge or a view of "wrong doing" to every german I run into.

Now, i'm CERTAINLY not saying that you should stop caring that up until 50 years ago African culture and People were looked down uppon in this country.  We all know it happened.  I can appologize till I'm blue in the face about what the founding people of this country did, it's not going to change a damn thing.  There comes a point (we had a GREAT week long discussion in my Diversity in the US class in college about this subject), when everyone has to step back and say "You know, we screwed up, they screwed up, lets learn and move forward".  Sitting around say they oppressed me for 300 years only points out a know fact, and a known flaw in American history.  It's the whole "Naked Emporer" (<-disturbing image).

As for the laziness, unemployed, etc track, I have a few thoughts.  Until 50 years ago minorities WERE treated differently, it's only recent that things have changed, so it's going to take some time and work (much like GR as a whole) to correct the wrong doings.  Minorities were not given the opportunities of whites, that's known, and a lot of peoples parents are children of that generation.  I think it takes a shift in the thinking of minority group (along with the majority group) to move past the issues.  Look at children, I watch white kids, black kids, and hispanic kids play on the playground across the street in the afternoon.  They have no "experience" with the grown up world.  As they get older they start to learn, some from personal experience, but MANY i would think come from parenting, the differences, and history of race in this country.  I believe there may be minorities that do indeed feel like "they can't move up" and are stuck, not because they lack skills and knowledge, but because it's the way they've been raised from childhood.  Once again, it's a cultural shift in thinking. If i'm told from a young age that XYZ group is bad, they hate me, dad lost his job because of them, blah blah blah, I'm going to have a severly skewed vision of the world.  2 cents added.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think that when the EFFECTS of past wrong wear off, things can and will calm down. I don

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I think that when the EFFECTS of past wrong wear off, things can and will calm down. I don

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The same thing can be said of virtually any race or ethnicity thruout time. It's called rising above, it's what this country's all about.

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How many generations out of repression, will it take, for people to stop taking a moral highground, in what is tantamount to hate?

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I agree with you whole heartily on this.  What it's going to take is a generation of people who realize sitting around pointing fingers and being bitter does nothing.  I think this change is definately happening, it's just slow.  I must say we are moving in the right direction.  You can look around the world and see people who hate each other (and fight on going wars, look to the middle east) based on religious beliefs or something that happed 2000 years ago.  I think there are many programs around to help this, big brothers/sisters comes to mind, so does the community center on madison (i think that's where its at), there are others.  Some times the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, it just takes a little motivation and guidance to get there.  It's positive social change that will move us to where we want to go.  We need to get over this "I hate em cause my dad hated em, and his dad hated em" mentality (I saw a special on the History Channel about the KKK and that was honestly one guys reason for his racism, it blew my mind).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, there has most definitely been positive change in my lifetime. There is not question about it. The change that my parents have seen is incredible. I think that effect will always lag cause. The effect of actions last much longer than the act themselves. The degree of racial intolerance in this country has diminished considerably, but the effects of this change have not offset the effects of past negative activity, so these racial social and economic gaps still exist.

I would be more optimistic for the future of such relations if it were not for what I predict will be the economic decline of the nation in coming years. All these

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Freddy,

Thanks for trying to call me out in public on this, it is much appreciated. My whole point is that everyone should bring something constructive to the table. If Minneapolis has better race relations because of X, tell us. If Minneapolis has better playground equipment because of Y, tell us. If Minneapolis is truly the Utopian city of the new millenium and Grand Rapids is bound to be the next wasteland because of Z, tell us.

But if you have nothing but negativity, why not hang out in the Minneapolis forum (funny thing is, you have never even posted in your Utopian city's forum).

ALSO, don't throw out the race card on people you don't know, either in the forum, or in a personal message. For that, Freddy, I will not forgive you, nor will I tolerate it as part of my responsibilities as a moderator.

Now back to the topic at hand. It is an interesting topic but I ask everyone to keep in mind that we are all (well, atleast most of us) are here to discuss the greater good of Grand Rapids. We may not be building the New Jerusalem, but I sure as heck am trying my best to help build a better Grand Rapids for myself, my family and fellow residents of what I think is a fine city.

Joe

In light of this, I will follow JoeDowntown advice and tone down my bringing to the forefront of discussion, truthful topics that make people uncomfortable. I do not want to spoil the forum for others or myself. This is not to suggest that I concede that I have done something offensive or wrong...far from it. I am simply conceding the fact that I understand how the game will play out. People will try to ban me, close or delete my threads...if that fails; they will simply leave the forum in protest and or disgust. The sad thing is that many of these people are the ones who offer good information and insight into development. They will attempt to censure me or abandon the forum because they don

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TRY THIS OUT, FOR GOD'S SAKE - This is URBANPLANET. We are currently in the METRO GRAND RAPIDS forum of it. If a topic has anything to do with broadening perceptions about the TRUTH of what Metro Grand Rapids is then such a topic warrants discussion and IS INDEED therefore an URBAN ISSUE (since it pertains to the urban area known as METRO GRAND RAPIDS).

Good Grief! :whistling:

Now carry on . . . .

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TRY THIS OUT, FOR GOD'S SAKE - This is URBANPLANET.  We are currently in the METRO GRAND RAPIDS forum of it.  If a topic has anything to do with broadening perceptions about the TRUTH of what Metro Grand Rapids is then such a topic warrants discussion and IS INDEED therefore an URBAN ISSUE (since it pertains to the urban area known as METRO GRAND RAPIDS).

Good Grief!  :whistling:

Now carry on . . . .

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There is no such thing as a

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I don't believe that the race card has been played here at all. I think to the original point it was said, that the city of Grand Rapids has let some of it's inner-urban, neighborhoods fall into dis-repair. This is true, these neighborhoods happen to be predominantly black, and have suffered disinvestment, since they became so. To the point, it was also said how This is not the same in Minne. Was this all you are trying to say? Perhaps it was worded a bit self righteously, but I see the validity behind it, and would surely like to know how I can help in the ressurgance of any such areas, so that along with these, and other things, Grand Rapids can become a more attractive economically viable city. Right now I have not the Idea, nor the means to do anything about any of this. Also when you talk about how run-down these neighborhoods look, you have to understand, I'm from Detroit, the city not the suburbs. So anything In Grand Rapids that may look run down, kind of looks utopian to me.

The race card, when used in proper context, is when race is brought up as an issue, where there is no reason for it. It's an easy way for someone who hasn't a valid arguement, to cry martyr, and turn the tables.

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MJLO,

I was referring to what amounted to a personal attack in a Private Message from Freddy, not on the forum. Nothing else.

Joe

I don't believe  that  the race card has been played here at all. I think to the original point it was said, that the city of Grand Rapids has let some of it's inner-urban, neighborhoods fall into dis-repair. This is true, these neighborhoods happen to be predominantly black, and have suffered disinvestment, since they became so.  To  the point, it was also said how This is not the same in Minne.  Was this all you are trying to say? Perhaps it was worded a bit self righteously, but I see the validity behind it, and would surely like to know how I can help in the ressurgance of any such areas, so that along with these, and other things, Grand Rapids can become a more attractive economically viable city.  Right now I have not the Idea, nor the means to do anything about any of this.  Also when you talk about how run-down these neighborhoods look, you have to understand, I'm from Detroit, the city not the suburbs.  So anything In Grand Rapids that may look run down, kind of looks utopian to me. 

The race card, when used in proper context, is when race is brought up as an issue, where there is no reason for it. It's an easy way for someone who hasn't a valid arguement, to cry martyr, and turn the tables.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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MJLO,

I was referring to what amounted to a personal attack in a Private Message from Freddy, not on the forum. Nothing else.

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I did not save the message I sent you via PM Joe....but to set the record strait...why don't you repost what I said to you so that all can judge whether or not I personally attacked you...since it has become public?

Why did you leave out the fact that it was YOU who first sent me a PM (private message) and that my message to you was simply in response to that? Why did you not tell them that it was YOU who said he was going to work to have me banned if I did not stop being so pessimistic. In light of those facts, as well as the fact which everyone else could see (your threatening to close down a thread)...I will bet that fair minded people will see my commentary in a differnt light than which you shined on it.

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Social change and hard questions are what it's all about! People build buildings, and communities fill them, use them, make them "part of the fabric." If the community is segregated, or defined by a stark income / opportunity gap, if neighbors ignore each other, then the city falls apart. Viz, families will not stay in a place with dangerous street corners or substandard schools.

The role of urban developers is to provide places that strengthen and augment communities. In the best of circumstances, development uses and fits into the economic fabric of a city. Even then, development requires people, communities, in order to function: without citizen demand and community support, without an appealing culture, without functioning infrastructure, development will fail to reach its potential.

It takes more than a blueprint, more than a site plan, to make a city.

I think that's why most of us read this board.

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