PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE “COLLEGE-DRIVEN METROPOLITAN AREA”

January 26th, 2007  |  Published in Bloomington  |  1 Comment

I was talking with Chiara last night about feeling like Bloomington was centered around changing to meet the needs of people like me (20-something, ostensibly middle-class, “creative class” types), and she was saying how she felt like any kind of city policy, even the support of social services had an underlying capitalist motivation (making the city more “livable” for a certain class of potential residents).  Strangely, I randomly came across this report at work, presented by city councilperson Steve Volan, titled PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE “COLLEGE-DRIVEN METROPOLITAN AREA” that seems to speak to many of these motivations.

From the report:

Bloomington hasn’t really been a “college town” for at least a
quarter-century. It’s time for us all to retire that term. The
town you may remember from your childhood has broken away; it’s
now a metropolitan area, an enormous university the core of its
economic engine, an area complete with downtown apartments, 2
million bus riders a year, and enough bitchin’ restaurants to take
the Fort Wayne Convention & Visitors’ Bureau in a fight. This is a
core city now, with suburbs, even exurbs. The mayor now holds
state of the community addresses jointly with the county. We can’t
go back.

While I agree that looking at Bloomington’s growth relative only to the University is a simplistic analysis, the idea of economic growth as an underlying goal gives me the shivers.  I guess I just think that there is more to the idea of a community than the economy, and I think that an economy-focused understanding of community does not place all members of the community on equal footing in terms of power and decision making.

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