” […] Chicago is a city alive, a pulsing metropolis that stands out in 21st century-America’s muddy urban landscape. Except for a handful of West and East Coast cities, American cities are either struggling (Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore) or are not really cities in the first place (Houston, Phoenix, Las Vegas). It’s easy to romanticize those struggling cities and to react strongly against the kneejerk reputations they have acquired. (I do it all the time.) But ultimately those cities show us more about how not to build a city than how to properly build one. I love cities like Detroit, but it has a long way to go before we can compare it with Chicago.
This is not to say that Chicago is without its problems. The city is highly segregated, its suburbs are growing exponentially, and its high-rise housing projects redefine the word debacle. But the city is alive, and that’s worth more than a lifetime of plans and visions and projects.
This blog, then, will serve as a record from my Ravenswood apartment of life in a thriving city. It is my dubious goal that this will help me (and you, whomever you are) get closer to discovering what makes great cities great.”
Yes, that’s right: another blog. My friend and U-M graduate John Honkala has started “First City.”