Cities Just Want to Have Fun
When I was in grad school, I read and re-read The Death and Life of Great American Cities because I was in love with all things related to urban affairs and city management. The author, Jane Jacobs, properly questioned every basic tenet of city planning, and her fights with Robert Moses in New York City were the stuff of legend. The book was first published in 1961, and it is still very valid.
Jacobs firmly believed that, at their core, cities are living organisms. They change and morph into new things all the time. No city or town remains static for long; if it does, it will wither away.
One way to stay vibrant is to engage in urban planning that promotes fun - cultural places, parks, open space, areas for families to congregate. Do not build sterile buildings, streets, and public facilities.
Take a look at this link about her work and impact.
I thought of Jane Jacobs during my recent excursion down to Trinidad. Whenever I go to Trinidad, I feel that I am in the epicenter of Colorado history and that I am in a place where the real West still exists. This is one of our cities that has long sought to preserve its character. The people are terrific and the cultural heritage is vibrant … and the future is bright. I am amazed at what is going on there.
Its latest efforts focus around “Space to Create,” a Boettcher Foundation-supported initiative. Plans call for artists studios and 12 to 20 residential units in three historic buildings on Main Street. Corazon de Trinidad has been a designated Creative District by Colorado since 2013.
Noted Denver developer Dana Crawford, along with a number of committed residents, are all lending their expertise and leadership to this effort. There has been great cooperation with Las Animas County and the utilization of the Trinidad Urban Renewal Authority.
Cindy Lauper recorded “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” in 1985. It was a smash hit on the pop charts for months. Well, I would submit municipal officials like Trinidad Mayor Phil Rico, his fellow councilmembers, City Manager Gabe Engeland, and Community Development Director Tara Marshall just want to have fun … exactly how Jane Jacobs envisioned.
I’d like to hear from you on how you celebrate fun in your city or town.