Posted by: jackslife | May 12, 2009

Livible Cities

Great article by Rod Dreher this week about making Dallas a livible city instead of just pushing for more “starchitecture”.  The timing on this is pretty interesting, because I was just working on my first locally themed blog post about my own town of Lubbock.  You think Dallas has this problem bad, at least they are a major American city trying to look like…, a major American city.  Lubbock thinks that it is, or should be, Dallas.  I have been actively complaining, to anyone who will listen, about how this city should work harder on making Lubbock a great city to live in for its current residence, rather than always pushing to get bigger.  If you build it, they will come.

While the city council in Lubbock is relentlessly pushing through every construction project that they can think of, the city has rapidly become a less and less pleasing place to live.  Where I live (representing the North side), you can hardly drive from one place to another without encountering some construction malfunction.  There is hideously ugly development going on by Tech, and sprawling mini mansion development radiating in all directions away from town.  On the other hand, there are very few of the amenities that make local living great, such as some decent bike paths.

Lubbock will never be a big city, and I’m perfectly fine with that.  If I wanted to live in Dallas, I’d live in Dallas.  The city needs to give up its insane metropolitan dreams, and concentrate on making Lubbock the best small city that it can be.

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Responses

  1. Word.

    It’s insane to me that the city is spending an unholy amount of money and resources building freeways and sky-high overpasses that will probably never be needed. But we don’t have weighted or timed traffic lights, bike lanes (in a college town!), or anything resembling nice or well cared for streets throughout most of town?!

    I’ll never forget realizing what Stephen meant exactly when he commented in awe on my hometown’s “nice, rich people streets”. At the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. Later, when I moved to Lubbock, I completely understood. Traffic lights that know when a car is there, and don’t change unnecessarily, wasting hours of its resident’s lives! Streets that are paved in cement and don’t have pot holes everywhere!! Real, live, actual drainage systems!!! What a novel idea to spend tax-payer’s money on making their city functional and nice to live in! Who would have thought?!

    When I was in Aurora, IL last week, I contemplated the living-breathingness of “the city.” Cities are not static, they are ever changing. And, as difficult as it may seem, they can be turned around for the better (as my uncle, the Mayor, has amazingly done). It’s the Mayor’s and City Aldermen’s job to direct change. Unfortunately, in Lubbock’s case right now that means bigger rather than better, I believe.

    Aurora is a bit smaller than Lubbock at 180,000, but is still considered a “large city” like Lubbock. However, it’s completely different in so many ways. I commented and conversed with my dad on several characteristics of the city. One thing I admired were the roads – something the Lord has made me learn to appreciate living in Lubbock. Many main streets are only two lanes, sided by large-yarded residences or expansive, peaceful, well-manicured city landscaping. The result, and my biggest surprise is that, despite it being very similar in size, Aurora feels small-townish. It is also cozy, and beautiful (I realize a portion of Aurora’s beauty comes from geography, of which Lubbock got the short straw by no fault of its own.) Another surprise is that there is no traffic despite the small-scale road system. They don’t need seven lane roads everywhere. It is well-planned and works.

    Maybe we should run for City Council.

  2. Oh Ben, how dare you doubt the city’s vision?

    One day Lubbock will be the new Dallas/Austin/San Antonio and you’ll eat your words! Just wait until 2018 when they Marsha Sharp freeway is finally completed! People will be dying to get to Lubbock. You’ll see.

    Of couse maybe by then the city will have figured out how we’re going to have enough water to support the kind of population growth they’d like to see…


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