Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Championing the City

Last night, in Detroit, Community Next hosted a town hall meeting. Community Next is Detroit's online community hub for young adults, and decided to host the meeting in order to figure out what additional resources or opportunities would interest the young adults it serves. The main draw was a well known business leader who recently moved his headquarters to downtown Detroit.

What started off with a simple enough premise was, to some degree, hijacked by a group of ten or so young adults who had chosen to move to downtown Detroit and focused on championing the merits of the urban lifestyle. While many of the other, suburban young adults raised objections about safety and access to groceries and other necessities, this ardent group of civic champions battled every claim.

While Community Next might not have received the information they hoped, perhaps they were given a message they (and we) need to hear. There are Jewish young adults who refused to be scared away from our urban centers and are at the forefront of rebuilding our cities.

In St. Louis, people like David Singer, of Warehouse of Fixtures, which offers new and used office furniture, or Jeff and Randy Vines of STL Stylehave decided not only to locate their businesses in the city, but also their residences.

What would happen, if here in St. Louis, we tried hosting a town hall of the same sort? Would the young urbanists even bother showing up? After all, so much of our community infrastructure is based in the county, with only one synagogue in the city itself. Many of the young adults in this community bear the cautiousness and concerns of their suburban parents, while being almost totally ignorant about the actual contents of the city. What would happen, thought, if that meeting were to take place, and the 'city Yids' actually made a strong and impassioned case for living in the city? What if the city became cool enough that it was worth taking 'risks' to live in?

Despite all of the trash talking that takes place about Detroit, maybe we in St. Louis could learn a thing or two.

1 comment:

Daron said...

It's called City Affair. Be there on Feb. 3rd at Fort Gondo.