A friend at the cool condos in which we live here in in San Jose dug up a very interesting photo exposé. If there’s anything I’m a complete sucker for, it’s photos showing a modern city or establishment as it used to be — whenever. I always love when old restaurants have photos of what the place looked like decades ago.
Mind you: this is all within no more than 10 minutes walk from where I now sit, so it’s completely relevant to me. At a glance, I’m struck by what a profound difference trees planted in sidewalk openings make. Beautiful.
Of course, I’d be remiss in not commenting on the fact that the dreariness in the before photos is representative of a force that was determined to prevent development. Oh, it was never expressed like that. It’s "planning," you know. And even when the "Redevelopment Agency" got underway — whenever that was — it was blunder after blunder; until someone, somewhere, got a clue and realized that it’s only been about 3,000 years or so that cities have been known to thrive by having people live in cities. Imagine it.
And, so, apartments, condos, and townhouses have been essentially growing like weeds, here, downtown, for about a decade. That’s good, and there could be a lot more, and it could be more "organic," meaning that people themselves, in pursuit of their own values, for their own reasons, determine what goes where, and when.
But I guess I’ll take what I can get.