Thursday, March 21, 2013

Though The Hipster-Cool Cities Plan Has Failed Everywhere Else, Chicago Continues Its Drive to the Hoop - You Know, South, West and North of the Loop

Hipster's Dream City!
Burning money trying to become “cooler” ends up looking something like the metropolitan equivalent to a midlife crisis. Joel Kotkin

We had a Leo Alumni meeting at Father Perez Knights of Columbus Council 1444 in Mount Greenwood here on the south side last night.  It was great.  Irish kids from the Classes of 1943, '44 and &  and Black Kids from the 70's, 80's and 90's.  There were about sixty kids all told -For Light-hearted Boys Make the Best of Old Man, as the Irish song goes.

The Alumni Banquet is upon us and the class captains reported on tables purchased followed by President Dan McGrath's report on the school.  Leo High School was represented by Dan, Mike Holmes '76, Coach Noah Cannon '91 and yours truly.  Prior to the start of the meeting Mike and Noah spoke of the march of folly by CPS in the closing of neighborhood schools. "Where are the kids from Alonzo Stagg Elementary supposed to go?"  Aldermen who support Mayor Rahm in all things are now faced by their constituents and the race card is tossed freely, as in all things necessry to the subject.

(Alderman Carrie) Austin said she had not been told which schools in her far South Side ward are in line to be shut down. But most of the schools targeted by the district are in predominantly black neighborhoods on the South and West sides
"I don't think anything is a done deal in this city. I'm not going to let them do this to us, not again," she said. "Every time the whites get to screaming and hollering, they back off and steamroll over black and brown folks. Not this time."

This time and everytime, Carrie; make book on it.  It is not a white and black issue.  It is the PLAN.  The PLAN is to eliminate neighborhoods by shooing the helots (white,black,brown,and pale) the Hell out of Chicago's City Limits by whatever means necesary ( Ventra Cards, crumby to closed schools, thug comfort zones, idiotic ordinances and the attached fees, property tax increases and garbage grid boondoggles).

The PLAN has a goal of -CHICAGO Urban Center City.  This has been brewing from the time that Richie Daley took to hanging around University of Chicago dudes and turned his back on Bridgeport friends.  Daley took Frank Krusie -the CTA genius, Forrest Claypool -the job hopper and CTA genius, the Hyde Park Mafia ( John Rogers, Valerie Jarrett, Judson Miner, Allison Davis, Bill Ayers and Arne Duncan) and told the bad boys of the Hamburg Club to stay off his porch.

  • Bike Lanes -Good!
  • Red Line Safe & On Time -Bad
  • Red Light Cameras -Good
  • Cops and Firefighters -Bad
  • City Services - Bad
  • Open Green Spaces -Good
  • Churches and the People Who Go to Them-Very Bad
  • Hooka Centers -Very, Very Good
  • Schools -Who Cares ! We Have Degrees from Columbia! Make Chicago Your Classroom!
  • Neighborhoods - Unevolved: Too many Breeders and their damn kids with their Parades; we need Green Spaces and Bike Lanes

See? Progressive, going back to the 1970's.

The idea of the PLAN is that by creating a Creative/Intellectual Demographic as the urban core population, all the other pains-in-the ass folks black, white, brown, or pale could get the Hell out and visit Urban Center Chicago on holidays, the weekends, and when paying traffic, parking and City Ordinance fees.

Urban Centers, a comfort-zone for affluent childless couples, single secular degree'd, Progressive, fitness conscious, trendy urban pioneers, has been the template for city government too lazy, corrupt, or Progressive to make thoughtful investments in time, treasure and talent to provide adequate services to the tax-payers who dwell in neighborhoods.

This template cracked under the weight of its own folly, the Geography of hipness:

Geography of Hip Coolness

Perhaps the best that can be said about the creative-class idea is that it follows a real, if overhyped, phenomenon: the movement of young, largely single, childless and sometimes gay people into urban neighborhoods. This Soho-ization—the transformation of older, often industrial urban areas into hip enclaves—is evident in scores of cities. It can legitimately can be credited for boosting real estate values from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Wicker Park in Chicago and Belltown in Seattle to Portland’s Pearl District as well as much of San Francisco.
Yet this footprint of such “cool” districts that appeal to largely childless, young urbanistas in the core is far smaller in most cities than commonly reported. Between 2000 and 2010, notes demographer Wendell Cox, the urban core areas of the 51 largest metropolitan areas—within two miles of the city’s center—added a total of 206,000 residents. But the surrounding rings, between two and five miles from the core, actually lost 272,000. In contrast to those small gains and losses, the suburban areas—between 10 and 20 miles from the center —experienced a growth of roughly 15 million people.
The smallness of the potentially “hip” core is particularly pronounced in Rust Belt cities such as Cleveland and St. Louis, where these core districts are rarely home to more than 1 or 2 percent of the city’s shrinking population. Yet the subsidy money for developers is often justified in the name of “reviving” the entire city, most of which has continued to deteriorate.

The Politics of Hipness -

Investments in “cool” districts may well appeal to some young professionals, particularly before they get married and have children. But overall, as Florida himself now admits, it has done little overall for the urban middle class, much less the working class or the poor.
Indeed in many ways the Floridian focus on industries like entertainment, software, and social media creates a distorted set of economic priorities. The creatives, after all, generally don’t work in factories or warehouses. So why assist these industries? Instead the trend is to declare good-paying blue collar professions a product of the past. If you can’t find work in deindustrialized Michigan, suggests Salon’s Ray Fismanone can collect “ more than a few crumbs” by joining the service class and serving food, cutting hair or grass in creative capitals like San Francisco or Austin.
These limitations of the “hip cool” strategy to drive broad-based economic growth have been evident for years. Conservative critics, such as the Manhattan Institute’sSteve Malanga have pointed out that many creative-class havens often underperform economically compared to their less hip counterparts. More liberalacademic analysts have denounced the idea as “ exacerbating inequality and exclusion.” One particularly sharp critic, the University of British Columbia’s Jamie Peck see it as little more than a neo-liberal recipe of “biscotti and circuses.”
Urban thinker Aaron Renn puts it in political terms: “the creative class doesn’t have much in the way of coattails.”

And as today's Tribune CPS feature displays - RACE - The very people

On paper, the “creative class” theory worships at the altar of diversity. “The great thing about cities,” Florida told NPR last year, “is they're diverse. There's diverse people in them.” Yet even leaving aside their lack of economic diversity, the exemplars of “hip cool” world, notes urban analyst Renn, tend to be vanilla cities with relatively small minority populations. San FranciscoPortland and Seattle are becoming whiter and less ethnically diverse as the rest of the country, andparticularly the suburbs, rapidly diversify.
Creatives may espouse politically correct views, but the effect of Florida’s policy approach, notes Tulane sociologist Richard Campanella, often undermine ethnic communities. As they enter the city, creatives push up rents, displacing local stores and residents. In his own neighborhood of Bywater, in New Orleans, the black population declined by 64 percent between 2000 and 2010, while the white population increased by 22 percent.
In the process, Campanella notes, much of what made the neighborhood unique has been lost as the creatives replace the local culture with the increasingly predictable, and portable, “hip cool” trendy restaurants, offering beet-filled ravioli instead of fried okra, and organic markets. The “unique” amenities you find now, even in New Orleans, he reports, are much what you’d expect in any other hipster paradise, be it Portland, Seattle, Burlington, Vermont or Williamsburg.
The very people whom Urban Creative Hipster Centers must please simply can not do without the very people they so detest - the middle class breeders of all races.  The Creative and Hip cannot fix a sink, a time for an appointment, much less a government official.  The helots who go to the precinct captain in order to tidy up a playground are scorned by the Creative Secular Urban Dweller as thoroughly unevolved.  That is why a hard-hitting newspaper series on corruption tracks the misadventures of some poor slob who takes the odd nap on his shovel and ignores the Global Inbred Corruption of a CTA President who could not tell you how MPG a bus gets, let alone start one who manages to finesse editorial boards into ignore the roots of Bombardier/Ventra scams.

The PLAN is working to make Chicago an Urban Center, but Urban Centers don't work.

"Where are the kids from Amos Alonzo Stagg Elementary supposed to go to school?"  Not in the PLAN that is for sure.

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