New York and London are both palpably more creative when they’re in recession, as well as more likeable. It may be simply that economic constraint stimulates creativity (just as vile weather does, which is why climate and culture are inversely proportional). But the point is, cities are not principally for, and should never be measured principally in, pleasure.
The Time Out columnist Michael Hodges once wrote that grey, soggy old inner London “is a perfect place for the miserable … [but] it’s being miserable that gets things done. No one comes to the capital to be happy. They come here to do stuff.”
So as well as making us wealthier (obvious), healthier (counterintuitive but true) and more creative (see Richard Florida) cities also can, and demonstrably do, creative misery notwithstanding, make us happy.
This happiness is a side-benefit. The best, most lasting kind of happiness, the gurus say, comes from pursuing not happiness itself, but something bigger and more strenuous. This is what cities are good at.
“We help craft a Southern beer economy by buying foraged goods directly from friends, farms and tavern patrons.”
Durham’s Fullsteam sent a few cases of First Frost around the state yesterday, marking their first official ex-Triangle distribution since opening in August 2010. Fun to watch these guys grow and hope they keep that same local spirit going forward.
It’s a strange world, made of extreme horizontal and vertical planes. Where you find diagonal, you find skiing.
Nicaragua, you are now on the list.
The more innovative cities become, the more talented people want to live in them. The more talented people arrive, the more innovation they generate. Take Ryan Gravel, a quintessential example of how minor players with off-the-wall ideas are tweaking their own cities according to a new set of ideals. In 1999, Gravel needed a thesis topic for his joint degree in architecture and urban planning. The 27-year-old grad student knew one thing about Atlanta: It was a bitch to get around. So he created a plan for the BeltLine, a 22-mile “emerald necklace” of parks, light rail and new development encircling the city. Today, it’s actually being built. The improbable project seems to have come to fruition through sheer enthusiasm: “Neighborhood groups, church groups, pedestrian advocacy organizations, cycling organizations,” says Gravel. “There was a huge groundswell of public support, and it came from the bottom up. The people of Atlanta owned this project before the mayor did.