I always agree with everyone on the fact that Columbus could use some more culture, but the problem is that city politicians cannot simply CREATE culture. They CAN make urban renewal an affordable and appealing practice that will draw people to live downtown... THEN once you have enough people in an area, you'll start to see more culture arise. People are what make culture. Go walk around downtown on a weeknight. There's no one there. You can try to promote some city-sponsored events like waterfire or other festivals, but you wind up just getting crowds who will come from other areas of town, attend the events, and then leave. They're not sticking around to live there for those types of things. They need other reasons to move downtown and reasons to create their own culture.
Columbusite wrote I agree we need something big to breathe some life into downtown. While I think the riverfront is a good start I don't think it's going to reach very far into the center.
You're right. The area that I feel is getting the most neglect is the other side of downtown... the area that stretches from CSCC down through CCAD to Franklin. When you have three schools right there, the art museum, the library and other things like that, you're just begging for a cultural movement to emgerge. Build some afforable high-rise apartments and condos over there for students and that area will really drive some culture into our downtown.
Did any of you know that we are sister cities with Seville, Spain which has basically the same population as us (702,000) and yet is a world-class city that is very lively with excellent nightlife? I am wondering why we haven't look to them for ideas.
We're also sister cities with Dresden, Germany, Genoa, Italy, Hefei, China, Herzliya, Israel, Odense, Denmark, and Tainan City, Taiwan. ;)
Anyway, it's really hard to compare any European city with an American city, especially a planned capital city like Columbus. Seville was considered a world-class city back in the 15th and 16th centuries as the center of Spanish exploration and trade, which was hundreds of years before Columbus was first constructed in the early 1800s. Our city was not established by frontiersmen, it was created by politicians to serve as the capital of the state. So it's hard to compare the culture of a 200-year old government city with one in Europe that is thousands of years old.
Unfortunately, while I was able to spend a couple of days in the city I was too pooped to go out after my feet got sore looking at all the historical sites. All of the bustle makes it look like it's several times larger than Columbus and all of it is due to something I mentioned in passing earlier in another post: plazas.
Again, this is another example of how it's unfair to compare an old european city with a midwestern american one. These Europeon cities were built long before cars were even imaginable. Their bustle comes from the fact that you had to walk everywhere. Steam Engines were invented before Columbus Ohio was founded. That's how young of a city we are. And sadly, being so modern has spread our city thin with the addition of dozens of sprawling suburban areas. The same thing has happend all over our young country. This sort of suburban sprawl isn't even feasable in a lot of other countries....
While we're at it we might as well borrow the architectural style too unless we can come up with something that looks cool and not dreadfully generic. I don't know how realistic it would be for this to be done, but we do have plenty of open spaces not being put to good use. Making them cater to pedestrians would be of utmost importance and pedestrian only streets should be made where possible to make going from plaza to plaza easy.
Where are all these pedestrians going to come from? The city is pushing for residential units downtown to get people to move downtown first. I think it would be a waste of money to start devoting streets to pedistrians that don't exist yet...
In the end, I am just afraid that the people in charge of revitalizing downtown aren't willing to make the big changes that are absolutely necessary for making Columbus a thriving city.
It seems like a lot of people who are pessimistic about downtown revitilization make this sort of statement. You have to realize that you are talking about LARGE SCALE changes. This isn't just cleaning out your closet. You're talking about billions of dollars of investment over the span of multiple decades. Seville Spain didn't become as cool as it is during the week before you went there. New York City didn't become America's cultural mixing pot overnight. You have to have some patience and give things some time. You can't expect someone to drop in a multi-line mass transit system next weekend. Or have 100,000 people up and move downtown by the end of the month.
If you expect large-scale radical changes overnight, then you're going to lead a disappointed life, no matter where you live.
Looking at the fact that they think putting up "New York style lofts" and pricey condos downtown is going to do the job just makes me feel that I am right in feeling a bit pessimistic. Problem is, there is nothing around many of those places.
Not all of the residental units downtown are "new york style lofts". They range from less than 100,000 to over a million with a variety of styles. Did you go on the city hop this year? I saw tons of variety all over the city.
Anyway, there ARE things to do downtown and places to eat and shop and work. There may not be many, and there won't be more until there are more people downtown because it's just not good business practice to open a business where there are no customers.
Everyone likes to say that you have to have near-proximity amenities downtown before people will want to move there. I think that's total bullshit. Just about everyone I know that lives in the suburbs do not live there for the nearby amenities. They don't walk to the grocery store. They don't walk to work. They drive everywhere. So what's the difference if you want to live downtown and drive to get your groceries or drive to work. I know that defeats some of the purpose of downtown living, but there are people willing to deal with that sort of thing for now and make some compromises before other amenities arrive.
Take me for example. I live in the German Village. I drive to work in Grove City. I walk to the grocery store. I walk to the park. I walk to school. I drive to visit friends. If I could live right downtown I would and if I could work downtown I would. It's all about compromises and sacrafices when you're trying to pioneer something new.
We are a state suffering from brain drain yet what is Columbus doing to attract graduating students to live downtown?
I agree with you here and I think more could be done. There are a few things right now (The Third Frontier, the 315 Tech Corridor, and the OSU/Battelle project at the old Lazarus Building) but more needs to be done. All in all, Columbus isn't suffering as much as Ohio is in general as far as brain drain goes, but yeah... we could do more about turning it around.
Lately we had Waterfire on the mile and apart from looking at that there was nothing else.
This was the only new city-sponsored cultural event this year. There were plenty of other smaller private events all over town every single week. The city doesn't have unlimited resources to make something like this happen 100 times a year. And even if they did, I'm not sure if it would be a good idea. Culture needs to come from people, not from the local government...
Anyone know who I SHOULD be complaining to like maybe the governer, etc? Not that it would make a difference.
Well, you could start by emailing your thoughts to The Mayor (his email address is on his website FOR A REASON), but if you're going to doubt yourself before even trying then maybe you don't really feel strongly enough to make a difference. You're going to stir up some conversation on this messageboard, so obviously some people care about what you have to say.
I think overall, you're just expecting too much too fast, as many other people do. Major changes take LOTS of time and LOTS of money and LOTS of work. Blood, sweat, and tears, right? And if you want some culture, MAKE some. Take some photos, paint some canvases, start a band, BE CREATIVE. That's how culture gets made. :shock: