Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Rethinking the city

Recently, I've been posting numerous articles and rants on related to housing and development in this city. I'd like to follow up with an interesting article regarding a unqiue perspective on city planning. Perhaps, with our dwindling industrial base and the changing demographics of the city, Jamestown needs to look away from the traditional mix of industry and commerce.

My personal preference? Why, thank you for asking, imaginary reader. I grew up in the sticks outside a college town. If you're going to shift to a service economy, and barring amazing and unexpected changes, we're going to a service economy, I'd rather we seized the lead locally and focused on expanding JCC and JBC. The alternative service area appears to be elder care and CNA-type positions. Unmedicated schizophrenic SSI recipients (I work downtown, trust me on this) don't really have much economic impact, no matter how many aides are needed for their care. And they don't exactly contribute to the wellbeing of a community. Students with a taste for alcohol and public intoxication aren't necessarily beneficial either, but the arts and culture associated with the educational institution permeates the entire city. I don't think the presence of Fredonia or UB or the PA schools will have an effect. SUNY Canton is surrounded by public and private schools, and has recently undergone a change from a strictly two year school (it was one of the ag & tech community colleges, originally) to offer an array of technical and profession-related four year degrees.

This isn't to say college towns don't have their own issues. In my hometown, for example, there's a continual divide between the "college people" (professors and professional staff) and the "working people" in the blue collar jobs...but at least there are both sorts of jobs, which isn't something I see happening locally.

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