Downtown Is for People

On the then-new phenomenon of dead downtowns.

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“It is not only for amenity but for economics that choice is so vital. Without a mixture on the streets, our downtowns would be superficially standardized, and functionally standardized as well. New construction is necessary, but it is not an unmixed blessing: its inexorable economy is fatal to hundreds of enterprises able to make out successfully in old buildings. Notice that when a new building goes up, the kind of ground-floor tenants it gets are usually the chain store and the chain restaurant. Lack of variety in age and overhead is an unavoidable defect in large new shopping centers and is one reason why even the most successful cannot incubate the unusual--a point overlooked by planners of downtown shopping-center projects.”

A Brutally Honest Accounting of Writing, Money, and Motherhood

A secret hope of mine, which I now find hilarious: I imagined that once I had a child, I would become a faster writer. Faster, and also better. It’s hard for me to reconstruct the optimistic logic that led me to this hypothesis. I think I honestly believed that if I did not have the option to write badly, I would simply evolve, like that Lamarckian giraffe, into a more efficient creature.