Friday, July 2, 2010

The foundation for recovery

On the Main Streets I visit, a growing number of "for rent" signs signal the difficulties faced by enterprises of all kinds. A growing, and perhaps ill-informed, consensus that this is time for fiscal austerity means that even harder times are coming. The government jobs that the bedrock of our cities will be cut to the bone in months to come. Both federal and state governments are pulling the resources out. The cities are left with little choice but to retrench. The hesitant and partial recovery of recent years will be threatened.

This creates difficulties for the present, but also for the future. The creative ideas of local entrepreneurs are an important engine of growth. And cities have an important role to play in this process by creating the connections that foster new thinking. Thus, undermining the cities of today undermines the foundation of the future. This can be discouraging, and people can turn against one another, fomenting violence and dissent. In Orange, citizens are making an active effort to connect through two upcoming events. The first is a festival at the train station, known as Tony Galento Plaza after Orange's favorite son, and the second is a rock, paper, scissors tournament at Hat City Kitchen, a new restaurant in the Valley.

Michel Cantal-Dupart, in his book, Merci La Ville, observed that the people who want to make strong cities would do well to be attention to the festival. In that regard, let us hope that the developers, politicians, entrepreneurs and others interested in the future of Orange pay a lot of attention to these two delightful occasions.

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