Local business THREE CELLARS had their plans for an outdoor Wine and Beer garden APPROVED last night by the Plan Commission.
Perhaps a step toward making the old strip mall on 76th and Rawson a more pleasant place to visit.
Local business THREE CELLARS had their plans for an outdoor Wine and Beer garden APPROVED last night by the Plan Commission.
Perhaps a step toward making the old strip mall on 76th and Rawson a more pleasant place to visit.
ABOVE: Cities, like Washington, D.C., are attracting a younger, more affluent, white population. Photo by Poldavo (Alex).
A new study from the Brookings Institution, “The State of Metropolitan America,” shows that, for the first time, America’s suburbs are more likely to be home to minorities, the poor and a rapidly growing older population, while younger, educated whites move to cities for better jobs and shorter commutes. The report analyzes census data from 2000-2008 in the United States’ 100 largest metropolitan areas, revealing a reversal of historical demographic trends. (See an interactive map here.)
So, the question is: What will suburbs like mine do to meet this challenge?
I can tell you what Franklin, Wisconsin is currently doing: Nothing.
No initiatives, projects, forums, or incentive programs. In fact, we just pledged a half million dollars to a neighboring community for a superfluous highway interchange, a move that tells the world that Franklin is still about a decade behind the curve.
And, unfortunately, the collegial environment depicted in the photo above is virtually nonexistent in my suburb, and it's something savvy first-time home-buyers are much more aware of now than they were, say, ten years ago (I, for one, was not a savvy home-buyer when it came to judging the community surrounding my house.)
Last year I proposed, via my position on the Economic Development Commission, an city-sponsored effort to work with a developer to encourage creation of a coffee shop/co-working space next to the Franklin library. A member of the Commission argued for "green space" instead - next to a park. Another wanted to add a "friendly amendment" to the Commission's recommendation stating that no money whatsoever be spent on the effort.
So much for that.
Many trade city living for the traditionally strong school districts found in suburbs; "Sure, I'm isolated and can't get anywhere without a car, but my kids are in a good school." However, strangled as they are by ill-fated TIF deals and taxpayer revolts ("My property tax is too high!"), suburban school districts are facing imminent decline. Franklin's school district is cutting an alarming number of positions, and the high school is an old relic.
Suburban public amenities? "Community columnists" decry funding community libraries!
Why bother anymore?
We may be looking at a whole new attitude toward the idea of home ownership. From The Atlantic website:
Houses make sense when you're rooted, financially and geographically. The future of the America is itinerant, flexible, and wary of burying money in an immobile "economic trap." Throw in the 100 million Americans we're expected to add in the next four decades, and you've got a congestion problem that suggests we should replace front lawns and sedans with apartments and trains.
The blog's author, Derek Thompson, is referring to opinions set forth in Richard Florida's new book, THE GREAT RESET (which is the very first e-book I purchased for my iPad).
Thompson quotes the following from Florida's book:
We've reached the limits of what George W. Bush used to call the "ownership society." Owning your own home made sense when people could hope to hold a job for most or all of their lives. But in an economy that revolves around mobility and flexibility, a house that can't be sold becomes an economic trap, preventing people from moving freely to economic opportunity. Not only has that piece of the American Dream grown dark, but it's also clear that financial excess in the housing sector was one of the central causes of the economic crisis. The rate of home ownership has been on the decline for some time now. Many of those who still choose to buy homes will choose smaller ones, while many more will opt for rental housing.
Our new way of life is likely to depend a whole lot less on the car. In October 2009, The New York Times reported "...After more than a century in which an automobile represented the American dream, car enthusiasm may no longer be a part of Americans' DNA." Car culture no longer exerts the powerful pull it once did. More and more families are deciding to share cars, and young people are putting off buying them and using public transit, bikes, their feet or Zipcars (membership-based, easy-access short-term car rentals) instead. It's not just that oil and gas have become expensive, it's that traffic and gridlock have become a deadweight time cost on us and our economy.
Compared with the end of 2008, the average household is now spending an extra $135 a month for fuel. But, to repeat: My suburb just pledged $500,000 to build a highway interchange that we don't need in a neighboring community. And it's not just money that will be going to the edge of town and over the border, it will be development as well. Why build a neighborhood-based coffee shop when you can toss up an offramp-serving drive-thru java shed right next to the freeway?
At the same time, Franklin is pouring money into a streetscape design for a commercial strip that all but ignores transit options like dedicated bus lanes and Zipcar facilities. Instead, our big-ticket item on 27th Street is "enhanced lighting" - the seventh most popular item mentioned on preference surveys, as Franklin Alderman (and 27th Street Steering Committee Chairman) Steve Olson is fond of reminding us.
If success and sustainability are a destination, perhaps it's time suburbs - mine in particular - realize that the road that brought them here won't get them there.
Posted at 02:22 PM in 27th Street, Absurdity, Bad news, Bad Planning, Close to Home, Commentary, Community Coffee-Shop/Workspace Co-venture, Community Concepts, Coworking, Coworking sites, Economic Development Commission, Politics, Problems, Recommended books, Sustainable Communities Factoid, Things to do in Franklin, Third places, Wisdom | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
My remarks before the Franklin Common Council (made up of material posted here previously) made prior to their special meeting on funding the Drexel Interchange. More on the meeting -- and a fairly startling position taken by Northwestern Mutual -- later in the day:
This interchange will happen with or without our subsidy.
But I couldn’t just watch as a city with countless infrastructure and service deficiencies votes to commit half a million dollars of Franklin taxpayer money -- cleverly camouflaged -- to an interchange project that is unneeded by Franklin, a community well-served by two interchanges. [NOTE: Actually THREE, counting College Avenue]
And spending money on a superfluous interchange even as the Federal government launches initiative after initiative and grant after grant designed to bolster communities that pursue Smart Growth principles and alternative transportation options is poor strategy, to say the least.
The smart community looks FORWARD, not BACKWARD; off-ramp development strategies are yesterday’s mistakes that we don’t need to repeat today.
I attempted to bring this topic up at Monday’s Economic Development Commission meeting -- the mayor reminded me recently that the EDC is ostensibly in charge of the Franklin half of the 27th Street Steering Committee -- but I was told we could not discuss $500,000 in “enhanced lighting” funds for 27th street and the possible diversion of those funds to an interchange as per the failed motion of last Tuesday’s meeting.
Also: I had heard that, at the last council meeting, former EDC member and 27th Street Steering Committee chairman Ted Grinjes claimed that the EDC had advocated for the interchange. I asked at the last EDC meeting, and was told that that is not the case.
Do WE need an interchange? When site location consultants evaluate Franklin, we get an “A” by virtue of two interchanges perfectly bracketing the city.
Northwestern Mutual, it should be noted, owns an enormous parcel of land on the Oak Creek side of 27th Street, across from their campus. Their $1.6 million contribution has nothing to do with cutting 95 seconds off of their employees’ commutes. Also, they are quoted in the paper this morning as saying that the funds were pledged way back when they were building the campus, and are not reflective of the current economic or transit situation.
As a practical matter, the Rawson and Ryan interchanges create a natural traffic flow onto 27th Street, which is supposed to be our commercial jewel, the marketing alone of which is evidently worth our spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Frankly, a Drexel interchange breaks that advantageous flow.
Perhaps the deal we make with Oak Creek is this: We will suffer the interchange’s diversion of traffic as well as Northwestern Mutual’s $1.6 million leaving our community -- a community that didn’t get Northwestern Mutual here for free, by the way -- in return for freeing our $500,000 “enhanced lighting” pledge so we can actively promote and incentivise economic development in and around our neighborhoods and commercial areas, creating higher property values and a deep, sustainable local economy.
On the other hand, Franklin can continue to postpone maintenance and needed upgrades. "Fiscal conservative" aldermen can continue to attempt to derail pedestrian facilities such as the one planned for in front of our high school as "too expensive," while tripping over themselves to send $500,000 to Oak Creek -- and get their hands on a Golden Shovel at the groundbreaking.
These same “fiscal conservatives” are fond of reminding us that “the market will determine” whether this or that development will occur. They are not fond of the idea of even small incentives created by the city to help shape development that is more economically and socially valuable to the community in the long term -- rather than simply a good turn of the dollar for a developer in the short term.
Yet, here we are, willing to dump $500,000 into an interchange that the market does not seem to be begging for.
SO, after the meeting, get back in your car; if you want to enjoy a coffee and conversation it will have to be in another community, because Franklin has not been "creative" enough up to this point to inspire a single coffee shop, deli, ice cream store, or other public gathering place within walking distance of its library, city hall and central city park.
And, as soon as this superfluous Interchange goes in, any chance Franklin had at developing the sorts of neighborhood-based, human-scale amenities that spur growth of a deep, sustainable local economy will be dashed like a bug on a windshield. It'll be Starbucks, Perkins, Sbarro, Dairy Queen, Burger King, Pizza Hut, etc. -- the royal court of fast food -- all swarmed up close to interchange, suckling on the sea of cars exiting for a bite before they get right back on and back up to speed.
Because, you see, we're on the road to becoming a drive-thru town, and tonight will seal the deal.
Posted at 08:56 AM in 27th Street, Absurdity, Bad news, Bad Planning, Close to Home, Commentary, Community Concepts, Corporate Socialism, Current Affairs, Economic Development Commission, Politics, Problems, Sustainable Communities Factoid, Things to do in Franklin, Third places, Traditional Neighborhood Development, Traffic/Transportation, Transit, Transparency | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
[NOTE: See update at bottom of post]
Come and bear witness to the overwhelming power of the road building lobby. Watch as a city with countless infrastructure and service deficiencies will almost certainly vote to commit half a million dollars of Franklin taxpayer money -- cleverly camouflaged -- to an interchange project that is A) unneeded by Franklin, well-served by two interchanges, and B) bound to occur whether or not Franklin throws city funds at Oak Creek -- even as the Federal government launches initiative after initiative designed to bolster communities that pursue alternative transportation options.
There are politicians already penciling in the anticipated date of groundbreaking so they can get there for their photo opp. You would be very naive to think Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's March leash-snapping in Florida (Florida?) by Wisconsin road builders did not include pointed, back-room reminders as to the fact they effectively own him. (I picture elegant table centerpieces at a gala "build we must" banquet, each festooned with the name of a promised project. Right next to the relish on Table 16: The Drexel Interchange.)
It's a done deal.
Any politician betting on a Walker gubernatorial victory very likely got on the phone. Greendale Republican legislator Jeff Stone, who "brokered" the potential Oak Creek-Franklin pay-to-play deal, will expect his reward, and a Golden Shovel at the gala groundbreaking.
Meanwhile, Franklin will continue to postpone maintenance and needed upgrades. "Fiscal conservative" aldermen will attempt to derail pedestrian facilities in front of our high school as "too expensive," while tripping over themselves to send $500,000 to Oak Creek -- and get their hands on a Golden Shovel.
Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor -- who could have broken the deadlock at the last common council meeting, and, to his credit, did not fall sway to siren call of the Golden Shovel -- has said he does not want Franklin taxpayer funds going across 27th Street to Oak Creek. He wants the council to "get creative" in tonight's meeting. He is likely barking up the wrong tree.
So, come and watch - 6pm at Franklin City Hall. And, after the meeting, get back in your car; if you want to enjoy a coffee and conversation it will have to be in another community, because Franklin has not been "creative" enough up to this point to inspire a single coffee shop, deli, ice cream store, or other public gathering place within walking distance of its library, city hall and central city park.
And, as soon as this superfluous Interchange goes in, any chance Franklin had at developing the sorts of neighborhood-based, human-scale amenities that spur growth of a deep, sustainable local economy will be dashed like a bug on a windshield. It'll be Starbucks, Perkins, Sbarro, Dairy Queen, etc., all swarmed up close to interchange, suckling on the sea of cars exiting the interchange for a bite before they get back on and barrel onward.
Because, you see, we're a drive-thru town, and tonight will seal the deal.
More from Infrastructurist:
We’ve discussed how democracy has played a major part in our failure to have a modern rail system. And like it or not, our electoral system has had a bigger role than most people would like to admit in contributing to the dire state of our existing infrastructure. A report released this week by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, titled “Road Work Ahead: Holding Government Accountable for Fixing America’s Crumbling Roads and Bridges,” supports this idea:
The deterioration of our roads and bridges is no accident. Rather, it is the direct result of countless policy decisions that put other considerations ahead of the pressing need to preserve our investment in the highway system. Political forces often undermine a strong commitment to maintenance: Members of Congress, state legislators and local politicians thrive on ribbon-cuttings. Powerful special interests push for new and bigger highways. Meanwhile, federal and state policies – which should provide strong guidance in the wise use of taxpayer dollars – often fail to achieve the proper balance between building new infrastructure and taking care of what we already have built.In other words, politicians get reelected by building (and funding) new shiny roads and bridges that offer plenty of photo-ops and nice padding for their resumes come election time. What’s far less sexy and soundbite-worthy is “I fixed every crumbling bridge and pothole-ridden road in this state.” For an unskilled politician, these massive new projects can lead to disaster (the Bridge to Nowhere, anyone?). But for most always-election-ready officials in D.C., new highways and bridges are easy makeshift symbols of progress and “getting things done.”
I learned via Greg Kowalski that turnout for the special meeting will likely be sparse due to other activities planned for tonight:
FRANKLIN PUBLIC LIBRARY: All meeting rooms are BOOKED tonight
FOREST PARK MIDDLE SCHOOL: Franklin Citizens for Community Development at 6:30pm.
FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOLS is having their reorganization meeting tonight
GREENDALE HIGH SCHOOL has a nationally-known speaker on teen/parent relationships tonight starting at 6pm.
Posted at 11:12 AM in 27th Street, Absurdity, Bad news, Bad Planning, Close to Home, Commentary, Community Coffee-Shop/Workspace Co-venture, Community Concepts, Corporate Socialism, Current Affairs, Politics, Problems, Sustainable Communities Factoid, Third places, Traffic/Transportation, Transparency | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
This weekend my family traveled to Wauwatosa's St. Bernard school for my daughter's latest basketball tournament. St. Bernard is located just up the road from the State Street commercial area, and across the street from a complex containing a coffee shop, ice cream shop, restaurants, etc.
What a pleasure it was to park our family truckster one time and enjoy an afternoon walking from place to place on a brisk, sunny day. We were able to stroll to a nearby cash machine to get money, celebrate the team's effort afterward at the ice cream shop, and grab a coffee before returning to our parked vehicle, feeling invigorated by a pleasant walk and actual social interaction. The streets and sidewalks were bustling with neighbors out enjoying their surroundings, greeting one another en route to this or that errand.
What a contrast to the typical suburban experience that seems to serve sloth and bunker-to-bunker transport above all else. A few weekends back, my daughter and I went out to locate an off-season indoor batting cage so she could get some swings in before try-outs. Our target facility was closed, leaving us with lots of time before showtime for Avatar at Franklin's Showtime Cinema. Could we perhaps drive to the area and park, eat lunch, and spend an hour or so in a nearby coffee shop or book store before the movie? Perhaps even enjoy some spontaneous interaction with fellow Franklinites before or after the film?
Not in Franklin, where, like so many suburbs, "single use/single purpose" is the name of the game; Showtime Cinema is isolated in the middle of a field, with absolutely nothing attached or nearby that would encourage doing two or more things while simply parking once. You drive there to go to a movie. Period. Then you get back in your car and drive somewhere else.
Think about how absurd it is that, for example, while Sendik's and CVS Pharmacy are located right next to one another, you cannot safely walk between them -- nor are you invited to do so by the car-centric site plan.
Or, given data showing that walkability increases home values, how about encouraging development and construction on the city-owned vacant lot next to the library which would be a terrific place for a coffee shop or other "third place," thereby creating an actual multi-use community-commercial-municipal-recreation-business amenity -- in the heart of what is designated as Franklin's "City Civic Center District" -- that allows people to move from place to place and purpose to purpose on foot?
Nope. The Franklin Economic Development Commission did not spring into action on my suggestion, to say the least.
Faced with no place in our fair city to merely hang out, my daughter and I drove to Greenfield and spent quality time -- and money -- in Barnes & Noble. We probably walked a total of 100 steps all afternoon; car to door, door to car, car to door, etc.
In an article entitled "Crimes of the Heart," Newsweek magazine nails the overwhelmingly negative correlation between an arbitrarily "planned" built environment, our levels of health and fitness, and the expense incurred as a result:
Until last year, the residents of Albert Lea, Minn., were no healthier than any other Americans. Then the city became the first American town to sign on to the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project—the brainchild of writer Dan Buettner, whose 2008 book, The Blue Zones, detailed the health habits of the world's longest-lived people. His goal was to bring the same benefits to middle America—not by forcing people to diet and exercise, but by changing their everyday environments in ways that encourage a healthier lifestyle.
What followed was a sort of townwide makeover. The city laid new sidewalks linking residential areas with schools and shopping centers. It built a recreational path around a lake and dug new plots for community gardens. Restaurants made healthy changes to their menus. Schools banned eating in hallways (reducing the opportunities for kids to munch on snack food) and stopped selling candy for fundraisers. (They sold wreaths instead.) More than 2,600 of the city's 18,000 residents volunteered, too, selecting from more than a dozen heart-healthy measures—for example, ridding their kitchens of supersize dinner plates (which encourage larger portions) and forming "walking schoolbuses" to escort kids to school on foot.
The results were stunning. In six months, participants lost an average of 2.6 pounds and boosted their estimated life expectancy by 3.1 years. Even more impressive, health-care claims for city and school employees fell for the first time in a decade—by 32 percent over 10 months. And benefits didn't accrue solely to volunteers. Thanks to the influence of social networks, says Buettner, "even the curmudgeons who didn't want to be involved ended up modifying their behaviors."
in case you glossed over it, allow me to repeat, with proper emphasis, a startling outcome:Health-care claims for city and school employees fell for the first time in a decade—by 32 percent over 10 months
That's dollars and cents.
Later in the article comes this suggestion:
Require that sidewalks and bike lanes be part of every federally funded road project.
The government already spends 1 percent of transportation dollars on such projects. It should increase the level to 2 to 3 percent. When sidewalks are built in neighborhoods and downtowns, people start walking. "The big win for city government is that anything built to a walkable scale leases out for three to five times more money, with more tax revenue on less infrastructure," says Dan Burden, executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute. He recommends a "road diet" in which towns eliminate a lane or two of downtown traffic and substitute sidewalks. "When roads slim down, so do people," he says.
See also The Center-less Town Center.
Telecommuters, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed all grapple with the logistical challenges of working alone. At home, workers face isolation and domestic distraction. At the corner coffee shop offering free Wi-Fi, there's insufficient privacy, too few electrical outlets and the nuisance of latte orders shouted out through the day.
A growing number of workers face these hassles every day. As of November 2009, there were nine million self-employed workers in the U.S., according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Meanwhile, the volume of workers telecommuting at least once a month for employers grew 17% between 2006 and 2008, to 33.7 million workers, according to WorldatWork, a human-resources research firm in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Read the rest at: Cranky Consumer | A Test of Shared Work Spaces - WSJ.com
Do I even have to show the architectural elevations to confirm your fear of another suburban McBuilding? Behold "Multi-Tenant Building #3," potential one-story home to dental offices and maybe a chiropractor or two:
Site plan? Again, typical building-behind-parking-moat, with no pedestrian considerations.
None of the Commissioners present for the meeting (there were four absentees) were keen on providing incentives for the project, mainly because they feared setting a precedent for other proposals. After all, why provide breaks for one project and not another?
Why not, indeed ...
While the Franklin Automotive site (yellow box below) faces "Death Race 2000" Ryan Road, it is surrounded to the north and west by subdivisions. The current proposal provides absolutely nothing in terms of amenities for the surrounding residential population, who could easily access the site by foot and bike.
I suggested the following: Why not reward and/or incentivise the sorts of Smart Growth principals that Franklin's Comprehensive Master Plan supposedly embraces?
For example: We are presented here with a pretty rigorously mundane proposal that offers little more than possible property tax income in its current configuration. Andy's service center on Rawson and 51st already has vacant space exactly like this; so does Shoppes at Wyndham Village. Do we need another one-story, by-the-numbers, moated-by-asphalt professional building?
On the other hand, what if the proposal was reconfigured to serve the surrounding neighborhood rather than simply act as an offramp from the Ryan Road speedway?
What if "Multi-Tenant Building #3" were built right up to 31st street, with parking behind the building so pedestrians could stroll to and from the location?
How about a multistory building that can host a neighborhood ice cream shop, coffee shop, or even a deli?
And how about a break for locally-owned businesses who might lease space there? (Why the emphasis on local business? For every dollar spent at a local business, 45 cents is reinvested locally. That same dollar spent at a corporate chain reinvests 15 cents locally. Locally-owned businesses generate as much as two to three times the local economic activity as do chains. [PDF link to one example study])
While not the ideal spot (a location near the library would be best), here's a place for a co-working facility that could serve the business travelers staying at nearby Staybridge Suites (a hotel which is itself the recipient of a city grant).
And, while these business travelers are at it, they can leave some out-of-town money at whatever locally-owned food and beverage establishments take advantage of local-ownership lease incentives. (And, surely the management at Staybridge Suites - which is located right below the "G" in "Google" on the map above - would like to offer its guests nearby amenities beyond the On the Border gentleman's club and the Buckhorn tavern.)
How about a LEED building certification?
So, Mr. Developer: You've shown us the "default" proposal, and, frankly, you are welcome to roll the dice on another mundane professional building with no municipal incentives.
HOWEVER, reconfigure your project using some or all of the quantifiable, economy- and community-boosting ideas above, and why shouldn't the city of Franklin find ways to grease the rails for a "seed" development that will encourage more of the same Smart Growth thinking?
Unfortunately, my expression of the ideas above at the EDC meeting was met with confused stares at best, and at least a couple sets of rolling eyes - par for the course at a meeting where we were pedantically told "Business will tell you where it wants to go."
Glutton for punishment that I am, I will present the above to the EDC at our next meeting as an agenda item.
In the meantime: While the building pictured below is not appropriate for the Franklin Automotive site, the ideas presented in its accompanying post at CoolTown Studios - which, eerily, I only read after writing my post above, while searching for a "co-working building" image to illustrate this entry - are almost entirely applicable to our situation in Franklin.
From Cooltown Studios:
So, considering the state of the economy, what are creatives’ solution in how the development of a building can become a symbol for economic growth? The following framework of a building will soon be crowdsourced in Washington DC as an answer:
- Local, independent businesses on the ground floor. Not only do local businesses have four times the economic impact over nationals, but the entrepreneurs who run them are a key source for job growth. The ideal business in this building would be a third place restaurant/cafe/coffeehouse/lounge.
- Coworking on the second floor. Once again, support the entrepreneurs, the future Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Debbi Fields… providing an attainably-priced (can’t emphasize that enough) open plan shared workplace for them to work among other entrepreneurs, inspiring, motivating and supporting one another. This is the backbone of any strong economy. The third place below serves as a great casual meeting spot both during and after work, sourcing the next great napkin ideas for business (ie the ideas for Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, and Wall-E were generated at such a venue).
- Mini-condos on the upper floors. These are pretty much the same sized units in most of the world, except in the U.S. we’ve become accustomed to living in spaces larger than we really need, or can afford, as the housing crisis showed. The American Dream is no longer the McMansion. 380 s.f. one-bedrooms, even 250 s.f. efficiencies are selling out rapidly in San Francisco and Seattle, and are a sign of things to come.
- Limited parking. Creatives are increasingly preferring a car-free lifestyle. Add in the real possibility that GM could be bought out by China, and one realizes that the auto industry is no longer be the heart of the U.S. economy, and its culture will follow. Oil was never central to our local economy, but has been devastatingly costly to maintain. The proposed building will look to eliminate as many parking spaces as possible, where current laws require one to two spaces per unit.
- Green. This has become a no brainer for creatives. The building will be as green as its future buyers can afford, continuing to support the growing green and renewable energy economy.
- Increased disposable income. Much smaller units can realistically save a few hundred thousand dollars in many cities, and that’s no exaggeration. The second highest cost is automobile ownership. Imagine if that money can be invested in fulfilling the true American Dream of starting your own business instead. That is more of an economy multiplier than the home building industry, and more sustainable as well.
From the excellent METROBURBIA, USA, by Paul K. Knox:
The basis of both individual lifeworlds and the collective structure of feeling is intersubjectivity: shared meanings that are derived from the lived experience of everyday practice. An important part of the basis for intersubjectivity is the routinization of individual and social practice in time and space. A positive and distinctive sense of place stems in large part from routine encounters and shared experiences that make for intersubjectivity. This requires plenty of opportunities for informal, casual meetings and gossip; friendly bars and pubs and a variety of settings in which to purchase and/or consume food; street markets; a variety of comfortable places to sit, wait, and people-watch; a sense of ease with changing seasons; and, above all, a sense of belonging, affection, hospitality, vitality, and historical and cultural continuity: not the attributes that anyone associates with American suburbia.
Posted at 09:25 AM in Commentary, Community Coffee-Shop/Workspace Co-venture, Community Concepts, Coworking, Franklin Photos, Recommended books, Retail design, Sustainable Communities Factoid, Things to do in Franklin, Third places, Traditional Neighborhood Development, Wisdom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
From Entrepreneur Magazine:
For small-business owners who have run into financial trouble, a new Small Business Administration loan program offers relief. But the America's Recovery Capital (ARC) loan will only help businesses that meet certain strict criteria.
ARC was funded with $225 million to provide five-year, zero-interest loans of up to $35,000 per qualified business. To qualify, businesses must demonstrate that sales are down, expenses are up or they are having trouble paying current loans or suppliers. Owners also must provide two years of cash-flow projections and explain their game plan for returning to profitability.
The program is not for new startups--to qualify, you must have been in business at least two years, and profitable for at least one of the past two years.
The SBA is working on building support from banks, which get just 2 percent interest over prime and can't charge a fee. Many national banks that make other SBA loans declined to participate. After a slow first month with just $16.4 million in loans approved by mid-July, $96.5 million in ARC loans had been made by early October. The program runs until September, or until funds are exhausted.
Working with a participating community bank where you already do business is helpful, says Neal Gordon, principal at the loan-intermediary firm Business Borrowers Alliance. That worked for Jim Brunberg, owner of recording studio Mississippi Studios in Portland, Ore., which needed help paying a loan for an ill-timed expansion. Brunberg worked with Albina Community Bank in Portland, where Mississippi has accounts, and said his ARC loan process was a breeze.
Not so for Auburn, Ala.-based decor-store owners Ingrid and Frank Brown, who sought an ARC loan from a national bank in June after sales sank 30 percent. Ingrid Brown says the bank was making ARC loans mostly to existing loan customers and turned the pair down. They reapplied and were approved for only $13,300. They passed on it to apply to a community bank where their businesses, The Villager and Auburn Art.com, have accounts. They got $15,000 of the $45,000 they wanted.
"We still need money to buy merchandise for the holidays," she says.
In the same issue, From Entrepreneur Magazine identifies LOCAL BUSINESS as the 5th ranked hot trend for 2010:
Demand is exploding for locally grown and made products--which means more support for mom-and-pop stores. The dividend: For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 comes back to the community. Only $43 recirculates from national chain stores.
The "buy local" ethos has its roots in the farmers markets movement: There are almost 5,000 farmers markets across the country, the result of more than 5 percent annual growth for the past five years, according to the Department of Agriculture. Nearly 60 percent of consumers say they try to shop at a farmers market. Wal-Mart and Safeway recently added "Locally Grown" sections to their produce departments, and the USDA launched a "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" marketing campaign.Programs that promote community shopping, like Buy Local Orlando, are also popping up all over the country. About 40,000 Orlando shoppers have participated since May. "We like to appear that we're not just consuming for the sake of consuming," says Don Boudreaux, an economics professor at George Mason University. "It makes us feel good to show that we're socially conscious." --K.O.