Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

krazeeboi

Civic apathy

53 posts in this topic

For some reason, it seems as though Columbia suffers from more than its fair share of civic apathy. Area residents in general tend to be apathetic at best/scathingly critical at worst about the city. Why is this? Despite many of the things that make Columbia a great place and the significant progress that has occurred over the past few years, it seems there are more complaints than compliments. And in spite of this, Columbia has managed to become the state's largest city, the state's largest metro area, the state's fastest growing metro during the 90's, one of the most livable cities in the US, and has also been rated 1st among the state's metro areas in several areas (most recently per capita income), so obviously the city is doing something right.

Discuss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I think one difference could be that Columbia is such a government town. Much of the economy is either state government, USC, or Fort Jackson. It seems to me that a lot of the boosterism mentality of places like Charlotte or Atlanta comes from the private sector, especially the big business leadership.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good point, but you can even contrast Columbia with (dare I say it) Greenville in this regard, which seems to not suffer with this as much as Columbia does. While the local economies are different, Greenville doesn't have the private sector support of cities like Atlanta and Charlotte. So is it that the residents of Columbia simply feel as though the city hasn't accomplished anything to make them proud? What is it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Greenville's case, most of the major changes have happened because the City has taken much of the burden (cost) of redevelopment on its own back in order to jumpstart the private investments. This public/private partnership has become the default method and a valuable lesson to many other cities who've come asking questions. Perhaps it could work equally well in Columbia?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing you have to consider is that while Columbia has a government based economy (which is why it was founded to begin with), that territory comes with advantages. It does not suffer as badly from poor economic times. Also, with USC's efforts, the private industry is being lured in with start up companies, etc. in the nanotechnology and hydrogen sectors. These are extremely specialized, but they have the potential to be huge. In fact, they will have to be if the USC/Guignard plan is to become a reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good point, but you can even contrast Columbia witn (dare I say it) Greenville in this regard, which seems to not suffer with this as much as Columbia does. While the local economies are different, Greenville doesn't have the private sector support of cities like Atlanta and Charlotte. So is it that the residents of Columbia simply feel as though the city hasn't accomplished anything to make them proud? What is it?

I have been contemplating this very phenomenon for years. The symptoms are dramatic. Like when Blue Cross moved out to the woods and now SCANA considering moving out to the woods in the opposite direction. If these two companies expanded downtown like First Citizens has done we could have a much more impressive skyline and I do believe a great deal more civic pride.

I praise USC for the vision of Innovisa and First Citizens for growing right on Main Street. Someone needs to put a fire under both SCANNA and Blue Cross to do their growing downtown! Having large corporations making the midtown their home will surely help with civic pride.

Another big problem with the Columbia area is the separation that is felt as a result of all the little towns choking Columbia. From Forest Acres and Arcadia on the east, West Columbia and Cayce (etc.) on the west, to soon to be Blythewood on the north. If, somehow, we could get these separatists to join with us through annexation our cumulative civic pride would jump by leaps and bounds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Greenville's case, most of the major changes have happened because the City has taken much of the burden (cost) of redevelopment on its own back in order to jumpstart the private investments. This public/private partnership has become the default method and a valuable lesson to many other cities who've come asking questions. Perhaps it could work equally well in Columbia?

This has been (and is) the case with the Vista in Columbia, which is really Columbia's downtown jewel at the moment. I've always said that if you give a city something to be proud of, they will become proud citizens. This has seemed to work in other places, but not Columbia for some odd reason (at least to the extent it has happened in other cities).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My mom and dad decided that we're moving out in Spring Valley...We're not moving out of Columbia but it feels strange living downtown all the time and we won't even be counted in the census for Columbia...Why are the annexation laws so strict in SC?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Oh man, from Elmwood Park to Spring Valley? Wow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good point, but you can even contrast Columbia with (dare I say it) Greenville in this regard, which seems to not suffer with this as much as Columbia does. While the local economies are different, Greenville doesn't have the private sector support of cities like Atlanta and Charlotte. So is it that the residents of Columbia simply feel as though the city hasn't accomplished anything to make them proud? What is it?

Why do you sense that Columbians do not have the same sense of civic pride as Greenvillians? Is it based on UrbanPlanet posting activity or other things?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really just in general. From comments/discussions on The State's website, general conversations, things of that nature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think much of the negative noise comes from people who don't actually live in the city -- they come from the surrounding suburban and semirural areas. Many of these people have very traditional views -- we've talked about the pathology of this before -- and they believe that progress is a double-edged sword at best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then it seems as though those who actually DO reside in the city and are excited about the city and its future need to make their voices be heard over and above the naysayers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very true - and also put feet to those voices. :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why do you sense that Columbians do not have the same sense of civic pride as Greenvillians? Is it based on UrbanPlanet posting activity or other things?

I wouldn't let that current activity level of this forum indicate anything about civic pride. Greenville has really taken off, and its justa random thing. Columbia used to be the big dog on the SC forum (about a year ago). Greenville is just a more outspoken place right now because it has more members. I think that over time, Columbia will appear more balanced. Hopefully Charleston will play along as well...

There are probably just as many naysayers in Greenville, you just don't hear about them on UP. The State's discussion is basicly for the more vocal whiners. I think that people tend to get pissed off when they see things that tey don't benefit from directly. Its also easier to criticize than it is to compliment.

Matybe its because Columbia is used to being in the spotlight for politics, so other spotlights are no big deal, and its just more of a jaded attitude. Perhaps once Columbians see how great this new park and other developments around town will be, and the attention it draws to the city, they will have more civic pride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Oh man, from Elmwood Park to Spring Valley? Wow.

It feels like I'm moving to Cananda..lol...Feels like we'll be away from everything :(

I love all the developments going on in town! I'm really excited for the future the city is going in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It feels like I'm moving to Cananda..lol...Feels like we'll be away from everything :(

I love all the developments going on in town! I'm really excited for the future the city is going in.

Move back soon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who said that Columbia doesn't have pride?? I dn't know about that... I don't see anyone in Columbia feeling 2nd to any S.E city beside atlanta. Not even Charlotte!! Columbia is so use to bieng the big dog that nothing will make us feel like were growing until something really major happens. Its so much in state jealously. Columbia is the most hated city... As soon as we get any kind of reconition some one always try to compare us to their city or someone else's city . When actually as a columbia resident we don't care what's happening anywhere else in s.c. Not to sound offensive just making a point.

:thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Greenville's case, most of the major changes have happened because the City has taken much of the burden (cost) of redevelopment on its own back in order to jumpstart the private investments. This public/private partnership has become the default method and a valuable lesson to many other cities who've come asking questions. Perhaps it could work equally well in Columbia?

Columbia's current boom is attributed to the seeds planted by the public sector. Private developers are finally clamoring around to get in on the action. We are being discovered by developers from other cities now - Charleston (The Beach Company - Canalside), Atlanta (Holder Properties - the Meridian Tower, the First Citizens building and the soon-to-break ground Adesso condomium building) and Charlotte (Midtown at Forest Acres). Local developers are full steam ahead as well (City Club, Renaissance Plaza and now Arsenal Hill). Not to mention Tom Prioreschi's Capitol Places renovations on Main Street and the old Palmetto Building being converted into a Sheraton. And the Hilton. I could go on and on, and this is only the city center I'm talking about, except for Midtown at Forest Acres. Actually the public sector push has been going on for quite some time in Columbia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the Census Bureau, Greenville continues to bleed bodies. As of 7/1/05 the city's population was still heading south, down to 54,000 and something. Is that civic pride?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the Census Bureau, Greenville continues to bleed bodies. As of 7/1/05 the city's population was still heading south, down to 54,000 and something. Is that civic pride?

If your post was a movie it would be "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really just in general. From comments/discussions on The State's website, general conversations, things of that nature.

I wouldn't take to heart the comments made about Columbia too heart from the state website. I believe many of the people posting there are just aggrivated that the area is now just taking this long to realize whats been appeartn to them for years! I think its frustration more than anything.

Why Columbians seem apathetic? I can't say what are some examples?

There are probably just as many naysayers in Greenville, you just don't hear about them on UP.

There are and they are just as bad as Columbia you should check out the greenville news message board sometimes. There were severl posters there who were against the Bombers moving to a DT type stadium, and several more who are against the "PR" and type of growth that Greenville is seeing. SOme of them are pretty scary.

The State's discussion is basicly for the more vocal whiners.

Especially Morris who tends to only focus on the short commings or missed opps, It's like grow up stop whining about what could have been and acknowledge and perpetute the opp before you right now. Plus the fact anyone can post a quote on the state discussion list. There are no control measures so you or I could post several times and claim to be another person. Which was pretty obvious since there were sooo many Greenville supporters for the stadium on a Columbia area paper. I'm not saying all of the Greenville supporters were frauds just probablly one or two posters saying similar things about Columbia and Greenville esp. when they keep saying the same things over but just keep re-phrasing it. It's pretty obvious after a while once you know what to look for.

Matybe its because Columbia is used to being in the spotlight for politics, so other spotlights are no big deal, and its just more of a jaded attitude.

That's pretty much the mentality of Columbians. "We are the biggest city" so it's no big deal if we get a 17 story building (hey they did that back in the 80's) call us when we get a 40-50 story building, or yeah the Innovista district yeah well don't you think we should get something like that", or bout time, you know it's not our first time to the rodeo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But about Columbia's civic pride, it is apparent to me that a lot of Columbians do have a lot of civic pride and love living here. There are those who say negative things, but sometimes I wonder whether I just notice that because I love my city and don't like to hear negative things about it. It can make my day when I hear good things about it. For instance, on the news the other night they had a story on a new tourism director for West Columbia. After all, West Columbia has a beautiful riverwalk, the Riverbanks Botanical Garden, and a few other attractions, not to mention the view of Columbia's colorful, charming and vibrant-looking skyline. During the story, the WIS reporter interviewed a woman visiting from Pittsburgh, and the woman said she was thinking about moving here because it is very pretty and she could tell there are a lot of things going on and a lot of new development. She then said, "I think this city is going to quickly become one of the nation's great cities." Sometimes it takes others to point it out to us. But for me personally, there are times when I drive around and cannot believe that there could be anyone who is not struck by this elegantly designed, classically beautiful yet modern place. Yes, it has its eyesores, but every city does, and those eyesores are being demolished or refurbished on a continuous basis. It is getting hard to find blighted areas downtown. Consider what Park Street from Lady to Hampton looked like just a couple of years ago for instance. It is so very green here. The city's canopy is as lush as Washington DC's. Park rangers now tend to Finlay Park and Granby Park and keep flowers planted and weeded. The medians all over town are filled with flowers. The State House and grounds alone are a massive park (4 city blocks) with the nation's most handsome capitol in the middle. I often feel that those who don't like Columbia don't understand it. It is a very diverse and interesting city. More and more people are catching on to that. To me it's like a cross between a tiny New York and a small Washington, DC, with traits of the South Carolina Lowcountry and Apalachia thrown in. More and more people are understanding Columbia, as she turns more and more heads. The hills here roll just right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who said that Columbia doesn't have pride?? I dn't know about that... I don't see anyone in Columbia feeling 2nd to any S.E city beside atlanta. Not even Charlotte!!

:thumbsup:

LOL, that's true I never grew up feeling like I was taking back seat to any city in South or North Carolina.

I mean were Columbia we don't ask for approval, beg to be accepted, or abide to someone elses agendas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It feels like I'm moving to Cananda..lol...Feels like we'll be away from everything :(

It's not that bad; ex. I moved from Spring Valley to Atlanta's Cumberland area. Doesn't seem too crazy now?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.