Y’all know that I’ve been commenting a bit in recent months about the future of downtown. (Have a look here.)
I’ll admit. Like many folks, I’m worried.
So many of us worked for years to build a vision for the future of downtown that includes the arts. Yet, we seem to be over-whelmed by glass buildings who’s street-level windows are reserved for rows of dead treadmills, rather than locally-owned businesses and galleries.
Somehow along the way, we have pushed the arts out and turned the arts community one again in to a kind of diaspora in Phoenix. Is that the future of downtown that we wanted?
This article by Antonia Noori Farzan of the Phoenix New Times does a pretty good job of placing our current predicament in to historical context.
Personally, I attribute the problem to the failure of the Arizona Legislature to create economic incentives for smart urban growth, which supports locally-owned businesses and the arts. Instead, the only tool that the city has favors massive projects that favor out-of-state companies over locally-owned company.
Of course, these are the same people who are happy to give away billions of dollars to out-of-state companies in tax give-aways, while saying that they don’t want to “interfere with the market” or “choose winners and losers.”
My pontificating aside, I have seen so many of my friends downtown with a kind of shell-shocked look on their faces as they have seen their arts district disappear. It may be high time for us to re-group and re-think what our future should hold and how to get there.
So, stand by. I think you will see some movement in this direction in the near future. Let’s start talking about hosting some community town halls, shall we? Hit me up if you have some ideas or would like to help.
I’m feeling the itch to organize. How about you?