Comment 33018

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted August 24, 2009 at 23:29:19

....and yet again, "a text without a context becomes a pretext for a prooftext."

Extrapolating Jesus' words about the source of individual actions (with significant Old Testment background, especially in Proverbs) and using that to demonstrate how a city may achieve success is deviating rather far from either an accurate exegesis of the original text or quality hermeneutics in one's application.

Back on track with pedestrian spaces...

Space isn't enough by itself. There needs to be (an) attraction/s strong enough to overcome people's initial aversion to being in an unfamiliar space or around people they may not typically rub shoulders with.

Space is great, but alone... it's just space. You also want activity, vibe, atmosphere, usability, function, buzz, beauty.... and creating this is so event-based, especially to start. We can do everything possible to widen sidewalks, create good sightlines, landscape, slow traffic, put in great seating, and make a downtown attractive as possible. Gore Park is already a decent pedestrian space.

However, people won't automatically start coming to those spaces until there's a reason to go there for the first, second, third time (usually an event) -- and something to keep them coming back (whether that the space is nice, a retail or other draw nearby, recurring events, etc).

And it's compounded by the fact that when you have made attractive, free space - and a city as ours with a huge amount of unemployed/underemployed/"tax-free-self-employed" individuals without money to spend, they take advantage of these places. And that's fine. That's part of their use. They're public spaces. Everyone has just as much right to them, and besides curtailing illegal activity, no one should try to limit people.

Uncomfortably, however, that will indisputably scare other people away - people whose disposable income perimeter businesses/attrations/events need as well to continue these spaces being economically viable. So unless you have special-interest events, niche things that attract people for particular purposes and a different crowd than who will fill these places by default and/or a crowd who will come for an event no matter who else is there, you're going to have a hard time getting around that.

Hamilton is a real city with real people, not a perfect world. I'm talking about human nature and the realities we deal with here.

I do like seeing so many pieces being put forth here though, it's all part of the big picture.

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