Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pre-Regeneration Regeneration

Lots of NorthSide talk these days. Lots.

Even if you do, in fact, live under a rock in the St. Louis region, I'm willing to bet you still have an opinion about the proposed changes afoot in North St. Louis.

I've participated in, heard, and seen (online) enough discussion to realize that if ever something could be considered the definition of "lightning rod" for our region, it is this proposed development. No conversation on this matter, it seems, is complete until it has devolved into a series of cliches rehashing much of the bitterness, divisiveness, and acrimony that have marred our region's (and so many others, to be fair) cultural landscape for as long as anyone can remember.

This is good.

Not the name-calling and related bluster, but the fact that many of us are actually engaging with folks we normally wouldn't. Sure, a lot of it is online and anonymous, but a lot isn't. Many different individuals, City and County, Big Developer and grassroots rehabber, Northsider and Southsider and yes, Black and White are sitting down at the same proverbial table to discuss this. Isn't that one of the things that's supposed to make a city great?

You've heard it all before: St. Louis is full of walls. Walls between neighborhoods, wards, municipalities, high schools, races, the list goes on and on. But right now, while the discussion is undoubtedly ugly... at least it's happening. And maybe it's catharsis...

Because while I'm not sure the North Side project will succeed, I am positive it will fail unless we continue the dialogue, and continue working to ensure that all of us have a role in the regeneration.

Coming Soon: Actual EcoUrban news!