With concern to new urban revitalization, we should focus on three things:
- Cultural Localism
- Local Entrepreneurism
- Celebrate Diversity, Address Race
When we romanticize Paris, we don’t see a place full of tourists and the stores that live off their dollars. We instead see Paris before the tipping point, under the fame and success of the city. We see a quaint cafe. We see Picasso or Dali in a public square or pub with energy and culture, but not crowdedness and tourists. This is true about any city. Austin’s draw is the Austin that was, not the Austin that is. It’s the pre-tipping-point Austin. The ground floor of a movement. This is what’s compelling to all those who continue to move there. And they still find it, underneath. Not on the crowded streets of downtown or the drunken chants of youth. They find it in a small club with a legendary guitarist. They don’t find it, usually, at the corporate-named ampitheater that hosts the same show that will be in the next city two nights later. It is the ground floor that is compelling. And that’s Rock Hill – the ground floor of a growing diverse urban creative culture. We need to paint the picture of a ground floor revitalizing downtown – already successful, but still underdiscovered as of yet.
Also, we need to directly address race/ethnicity and minority inclusion and inspiration in the process of developing the center of our community. We need Saluda to be part of Old Town, Knowledge Park even. [To write more about this, I need the help of people more intimately involved in the existing endeavors around these community divisions.]