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Thread: What Instills Pride with Regard to Place?

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    What Instills Pride with Regard to Place?

    The thoughts this afternoon have turned towards pride. This has been rolling around my head since Monday night, when I was talking to a teammate of mine in the local men's hockey league who was proudly boasting about Flint, MI. Being a westerner, all we have heard about Flint were bad things (crime, vacant factories, etc) so I was kind of suprised at this, but he was born and raised in Flint and mighty proud. After thinking about this for a couple days, I realized that everyone seems to have pride in a place; whether it be a hometown or a current city of residence.


    Coming from Denver, physically I can find a couple things about which I can be proud, but sociologically it is hard because there have been so many newcomers in the past 20 years that it seems the true identity of a "Denverite" is coming into its own. Perhaps it'll take a while for Denver's people to get its image.

    So what say you? Where are you from? What makes you proud of your town?
    Last edited by zman; 01 Jul 2009 at 6:44 PM.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    People.

    Sometimes we forget as planners that its not really about the structures, but the people that live and work within them.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am a Westerner by choice, not by birth. Helena is my hometown, not because I grew up here, but because I chose it to be the town where I want my son to grow up.

    What makes me feel proud of living in Helena? It is a friendly small city on the East Front on the Rockies. It has nice, mostly modest homes, as well as some impressive mansions (built in Helena's heyday). It has a rich history. It has a relaxed atmospshere. It is a family-oriented community. It is just a nice place to live and work.

    I grew up in the Deep South - New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish. I love the food and the culture. I liked the people, mostly. I went to school in the Sixties and Seventies. There was a lot of racial tension due to integration, that was only starting to get better when I left in the Eighties. I've always had a liberal bent, which put me at odds with a lot of the people in Louisiana. But mostly it was a good place to live. I had a good family and good friends. I was most proud of being a Cajun, a people who have a rich cultural heritage and a tolerant attitude.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  4. #4
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I have indicated this on other threads but for everything that is bad about Flint there is something that is great about it.

    Detroit has some pretty cool stuff too. We as a region have lots to offer even though yes we do have closed auto factories, empty storefronts and run-down neighborhoods. We also have World Class Art Museums, an Opera House, a Symphony Hall (both in restored downtown buildings), a network of bicycle wand walking trails, great lakes, good people (not everyone is out to rob or shoot you). We are also an ethnically diverse place that is generally accepting of all kinds of people and that often surprises folks.

    We are the only cold climate city to host two Superbowls. We have a long history of supporting our sports teams (even the Lions). We were the city where the middle class was born with the $5 workday and the aresenel of democracy. We are the home of Motown and have a long history of rock and roll that ranges from Bill Haily and the Comets to Eminem and Kid Rock.

    Finally due to the collapse of our local economy we are now a very affordable place where you can pick up some beautiful homes at only a fraction of what they would cost in comparable cities. (how is that for making lemonade out of lemons?)
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Good question, Zman. I do have pride in Albuquerque, where I have been for the last decade. Part of it stems from a bit of a defensiveness about the place, which is often overlooked by travelers on their way to Santa Fe and Taos (but must pass through here because we've got the airport) and also by some New Mexicans as The Big City (with all its associated issues of crime , etc.).

    In reality, Albuquerque is really starting to come into its own of late. I have watched it change a lot since we have been here, and mostly its been for the better. I love and have pride in a lot about Albuquerque, though much of it applies also to the state as a whole:

    Informality - its hard to be the most underdressed at any event. And, chances are that the most slovenly of the bunch is the wealthiest. This is a big change from growing up around Philly where class is a big issue and people listen to the way you speak, how you dress, your car, etc. to place you in a box.

    Non-commercial - Or at least a decreased emphasis on consumerism. We have smaller billboards and, being a poor state, there just aren't a lot of options for spending money frivolously.

    Rural - Ok, obviously Albuquerque is a city, but several of my neighbors have chickens, there is a lot of agriculture within and around the City and once you leave Albuquerque, its not an endless string of small towns like where I grew up. Its open space and nothingness dotted by other small communities. As a whole, the state is very sparsely populated.

    Friendly - People are very friendly here. Not the big smile "gl;ad to meet you" kind of friendly, but the "we'll help you out whenever you need it" kind. Yes, tensions can arise over issues of ethnicity, history, who has a "right" to do what with this or that piece of land, etc. And sometimes that can translate to stereotypes of people. But I have found, as a White guy working in a community of largely Hispanic residents, that people wait to see how you act before really judging you, even if they may have some skepticism. This may be partly a product of the environment and being a poor state. We really do need to rely on one another to survive, so people give others a lot of slack and wait to see what they bring to the community before writing anyone off.

    History - We've got history. Serious history. The Spanish first came here before 1600 and if that isn't enough, you can visit Native American sites that date back to the 1300s. And there is even more evidence of occupation here going back 10,000 years. In my mind, it doesn't matter if you can claim a direct hereditary connection to these places - its just exciting to see and to stand in a place where people were busy living out there lives so long ago.

    Ultimately, I would agree with what others have said. Its the less tangible element of people and social relations that give a place a distinctive feeling of pride.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  6. #6
    wahday, you may have missed this post in the FAC where I extol the virtues of Albuquerque. We were only disappointed by the Radisson we stayed at on Carlisle NE (the waterpark doesn't open until October, much to my 9 and 12 yo kids sadness), but otherwise found ABQ to be a wonderful city. Other than the Espinosa - Santa Fe scrum of sprawl we encountered, we found northern New Mexico very pleasant indeed.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    wahday, you may have missed this post in the FAC where I extol the virtues of Albuquerque. We were only disappointed by the Radisson we stayed at on Carlisle NE (the waterpark doesn't open until October, much to my 9 and 12 yo kids sadness), but otherwise found ABQ to be a wonderful city. Other than the Espinosa - Santa Fe scrum of sprawl we encountered, we found northern New Mexico very pleasant indeed.
    I did indeed miss that post so thanks for the link! Glad it was a positive experience for you all. You are right that we have some surprisingly interesting museums for a city of our size. There is even a decent zoo, botanic garden and small (but very nice) aquarium. That's on top of the art museum and science museum. We live within biking distance (or a long walk) of most of that stuff, which is great with the kids (8 and 3). You all were just one neighborhood over form us. Next time you'll have to let me know you are coming.

    So, more things to be proud about.

    But we do have nasty, disparaging sprawl, especially on the West Side. We have a watered down Smart Growth type legislation that I don't think is doing much to reign things in, but I also think the economic realities will help stimulate more infill in the short run. Albuquerque is seeing more development in the downtown area (also where I live) that continues to be active and I think it is attractive to families that previously shunned it for more suburban style housing further out.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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