Friday, September 01, 2006

7 Things We Could Do Better

We're doing a lot of things right in STL, The two things that always come to mind first are a.) how well we support local businesses, especially local restaurants (tough to find an Olive Garden in the city, thank god) and b.) we have a lot of really, really talented and creative people here-- maing art and music, writing, solving problems, working in our communities. It's good stuff.

That being said, there are some simple things we could stand to improve on. My list is as follows (and in keeping with my 7 Series):

1.) RECYCLE OLD BUILDINGS. We do well with the warehouses (duh, they're lofts now-- too pricey for me, too)... and people are good with old storefronts and rehabbing and stuff. But in the 2-mile radius of S. Grand alone, there are tons of old gas stations that no one is doing anything with. Bar? Dry Cleaners? Restaurant? Cool studio space? I don't know, but we need to take a nod from Austin and some other great cities that have started recycling mid-century buildings. Or all those beautiful old movie theatres. We could do much better than what we've done.

2.) BIKE TRAILS. Yeah, yeah, there's the "Bike STL" signs or whatever, but very few streets actually have bike lanes. And, we're asshole drivers when people are on bikes. Half of the people I work with don't have cars, so there are plenty o' people out there a bikin'. Look at all really great cities of comparable or smaller size. Lots o' bike paths, folks.

3.) PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. I know we're working on it, and it's beautiful to see that N-S running Metrolink, but we need more. This is such a car city, and by extension, so very divided in many ways because of it.

4.) COULD WE ADDRESS RACISM, please? This is a huge one. It will never get better until we say there's an issue. And there is, a big one.

5.) COMMUNITY CENTERS. We need community centers-- real ones. Places to meet and gather. Places for kids to go and learn and have fun and be safe and engaged. We need places to come together, and we're not working towards it, really, not at all.

6.) MEDIA. I don't even have to say more.

7.) JOBS AVAILABLE FOR THE CREATIVE CLASS. Ditto. We all know the score, but we need to be the ones to change that.

This is a great city, but it's not going to stay great or go anywhere if we don't start working, and if we don't have real conversations about what we want, what we need, and how to get it done. The floor is open...

1 comment:

Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

Racism- yes.

I hear many people talk about race in this town- often the pale among us speak of how this town is not very diverse. And it certainly can be non-diverse if you want it to be that way. If you live that way. But there are places you can live, ways you can go about life that can make your world very very diverse. Then the world you live in is diverse, not necessarily absent of racism, but interactions on all sorts of levels makes the differences that actively address the problems of racism.