There was a really thought-provoking article by Steve LeVine published last week on Medium that speculated as to what cities would be like after the pandemic. Cities as places, that is. In a nutshell, it posits that nothing will be as it was before. The widely-expected tanking of the economy, especially retail commercial activity, will disappear most of the amenities of city life as we used to know it:
“On the nation’s current trajectory, one of the most probable post-Covid future scenarios in our cities is stark austerity, with empty coffers for the very services and qualities that make for an appealing urban life — well-paying jobs, robust public transportation, concerts, museums, good schools, varied restaurants, boutiques, well-swept streets, and modern office space.” - Steve LeVine
Did you notice that description already has a foothold here in Arden Arcade? Many of our “well-paying jobs” are found in other places - places that have “modern office space” like Downtown Sac, Rancho Cordova, Folsom or Roseville. Robust public transportation? Haha, not here for sure. Many of our streets have no sidewalks and it would be a giant leap of faith to say we have “well-swept streets”. Concerts, museums, varied restaurants, boutiques? Seriously? Good schools? A few, maybe, but not all of them. In summary, we are pretty much already on board with the post-pandemic dark ages. Is that the best we can hope for?
Meanwhile, it is beginning to look like the pandemic might be around for a while - maybe 2 years or so. What should we be doing during that long period of uncertainty if retail stores struggle around us, if restaurants close and if home ownership goes down the drain again? Beyond the obvious counsel of good will, kindness, helpfulness and patience, what if we started to think differently about Arden Arcade? Have we been lulled into notions that our community will never improve? That the County is our best, and only, option for municipal services? Can we envision a different future, one that builds on our strengths? Do we have the collective will power to bring about something of a local renaissance here? Or should we just hunker down and learn to cope with a “new normal” that evolves without our active engagement? What do YOU think?