An exercise in perspective

It’s not often that I write here about a story I’ve written elsewhere. It’s also not often I write a story that alters one of my fundamental beliefs. And thus, I must share. Mostly because it’s reminded me how important it is, as a person and a writer, to view the world in all its dimensions, rather than categorize things and people as “good” or “bad.”
I was recently assigned a story about a city that has no traditional downtown, but is working to make its commercial area more walkable, urban and appealing to residents. As a development nerd, I’ve long believed downtowns are good and sprawl is bad. I’ve scorned cities that are just miles of big box stores and parking lots, believing they should receive no help from government, big ideas from planners or love from people. They are the bad places, and downtowns are the good. Southgate, by this definition, was one of the bad places.

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Blurring lines everywhere, making everything better

The biggest synonym-related issue I keep bumping up against lately in my writing (as opposed to all of the other synonym-related issues) has been coming up with new ways to describe blurred lines. Hazy boundaries? Fuzzy fringes? Petering perimeters?

The thing that makes this rhetorical quandary interesting is that it’s not due to any one particular trend happening in one particular industry. I cover a number of topics, and in the last few months I’ve written about the blurring lines between brand publishing and advertising, engineering and medicine, women and tech leadership, art and economic development, media companies and technology firms, and, most recently, between urban and suburban places (coming soon!).

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Please Check More Than One Box: The danger of single-mindedness

Recently, I wrote an op-ed about emerging role of cities as economic drivers in the US. In it, among other points, I really tried to drive home the point that while “cities” certainly means elected officials, it also means business leaders, universities, associations and others. It’s about working together, locally and regionally, to make more powerful cities.

Now, because I am human, I always read the reader comments on stories I’ve posted, but because I am sane, I never internalize or react to them. One exchange below this story stood out to me though, as one reader balked that businesses, not cities were the true economic drivers.

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