Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Costs of Urban Life

Over the past few months, I've been keenly aware of the changes that my fair city has been undergoing. Seems that we're transitioning from being a quaint little city to an urban mecca. I've blogged in the past about my struggles with how to respond to homeless people while downtown, so I won't dwell on that topic for too long here. Seems like there are more and more homeless people around us both downtown and in the suburbs, and that makes me very sad.

Our city is also dealing with other problems -- like a seeming increase in senseless violence. Yesterday at the beginning of rush hour, there was a shooting downtown, one block from where I wait for my bus and three blocks from work. I walked past the multitude of police officers and incident responders on the way to my bus as my mother called in a panic. Seems that I was unaware that this was a shoting (with the shooters still at large at the time) instead of an auto accident (as I had assumed). News helicopters buzzed over head, and I was anxious to get on the bus and return home to my natural habitat (I'm a suburban girl!).

My coworkers and I discussed this incident at length today, touching on the senselessness of the violence, but also touching on our increased awareness of the activities that are going on around us... from drug deals in broad daylight on the streets to gangs to to people shooting up on every floor of the parking lot where many of us park our cars. It seems that nowhere feels safe any more.

I ask you this: how do you reclaim your city? How do you make it so that you feel safe in the places where you live and work? What does that process look like? Is this what it means to be in the big city (although, these things are happening in the small towns too!), and is this a culture shift that we have to accept in the changes of our piece of urbana? I seem to have a lot of questions, and not a lot of ideas on where to go for answers...

No comments: