As we waited to go into class on Tuesday one of my new friends said in our conversation, “Cities are starting to lose why they are cool. Maybe people should just move outside of them in order to keep what made them special.”
Here was the context…..
We were talking about my trip back home to Portland. And then we were talking about the timeline about me moving back to Portland and then she said,
“Good luck trying to find a place to live.”
I just smiled. This is a more cynical person. You know the type. Everything that is said has some sort of negative spin somehow. This means that we probably will never be close because anything I say somehow gets turned into something with a downturn. And disagreeable.
So I just smiled and said, “well, you may be right but it won’t stop me from tryin. Plus then I have work to do to advocate for re zoning so there is more housing, especially affordable housing in Portland.”
Her response. “Well, but that takes away the charm of Portland.” She is from the east coast.
“Housing should still be available and affordable for people who need it,” I replied.
That’s when her line came in. I stopped and turned to her. You see, I had just listened to the latest Radiolab podcast where they talked about the population. The task was to see if those living had come to a point of outnumbering all of those who have died since the population is growing so rapidly. 386,000 babies are born each day all over the world and we are to a point in which the population grows 1 billion people every 12 years. Wow! 1 billion people EVERY 12 YEARS…that is kind of horrifying if you think about climate change and resources and lack of sharing of resources, etc. I had been thinking about those numbers all day. I can’t stop thinking about it.
So I told her about these numbers. I said, “How can we possibly not expand housing if we are growing at that rate all over the world?” This led her into a monologue about how Berlin has expanded and yet it isn’t as great anymore and each city that gets so huge loses its personality and charm and why can’t we just spread out cities and oh yeah, don’t forget to leave all of the wide open spaces in the US…we need those, she concluded.
I turned back towards the doors and headed into class. By the very fact on how humans grow and expand, all spaces can’t be the same anymore. They just can’t. All things evolve. All things have life spans and those stuck in the what we were can’t look towards the what we could be. This is church institution logic from my experience. And yet it doesn’t just exist there.
So what is our responsibility? How will we look towards the future? How will we accommodate, invest in, expand and grow in our worlds?
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I follow a vintage PDX photo blog, and for all those people who think that things should stay the same, there are pictures that show what things looked like 50 years ago, and it was a lot different. Change is the only constant. There’s been a lot of growth, and there will continue to be.
I hope you can afford to live here when you come back, too. I think of PDX as a lot of small neighborhoods, rather than some large thing that shouldn’t change.