I picked up on some interesting, and previously acknowledged, contradictions in my work this week. For some my piece on Ian Rasmussen was too personal, and I accept the criticism. I would not deny for a second that there was at least a touch of passive aggression in what I wrote, but at the core of the essay was an honest query: if devout urbanists won’t colonize your city, who will?
As the Strong Towns dialog continued though, I was directed to an essay by Gracen Johnson about putting down roots. I not only commented, I linked to an essay I wrote in 2012 about how I feel about the issue of transience versus permanence. It’s how I feel. I should have also linked to a recent kunstlercast where the guest expressed a very similar sentiment.
What I remember from the writing of the 2012 essay, and what jumped out at me again, was how my own personal feelings of place so contradicted my objective relative to my hometown. From the first moment I left Springfield I knew I wanted to come back. I hated the mountain west, but Europe was a dreamscape to me…and still I wanted nothing more than to return to my home and experience what I could of its remaining residual European style urbanity. To preserve it, and bring to it a renaissance, I wanted, I still want, thousands of people to abandon their “places” and come here. I don’t apologize for it. This is how I feel about my place and my life. Springfielders who feel the same way, all 12 of them, are still here.
Yes, I seek you, place traitors, to come and see the wonders of this brave old city.