Skip to main content

Don't Judge a City You Don't Know

Jim Griffioen has a really fantastic article over The Urbanophile tackling the talking point that Detroit has no grocery stores. It really puts to shame the writers and journalists who have, for years, been perpetuating the myth that Detroit is so ravaged that there isn't a single retailer in the whole city that sells fresh food.

(from Dig Downtown Detroit on Flickr)

Does Detroit have food desert problems? Absolutely - as do many big cities, even cities that are otherwise doing very well. The thing that really bothers me is how quick people are to judge cities, even if they've never stepped foot in a city.

I get this a lot, of course. I was frustrated by Cleveland's many many problems when I lived there; but I knew the city wasn't about to collapse into total ruins. Yet, I still have far too many conversations with people, who've never visited Cleveland, and who believe it's a terrible place not worthy of living in or visiting for any reason. Worse, because they've built up a narrative in their minds about how awful the city is, they're probably never going put themselves in a position to actually judge for themselves.

Of course, I get it. Someone who's taking a long weekend wants to spend it visiting Chicago, not Detroit. I'm not suggesting that all cities are amazing getaways, though I've written before that sometimes the best cities to visit are the ones that aren't on everybody's radar.

What I'm really hoping is that if you've never been to a city, or have a solid foundation for believing something about it, that you don't go around talking about it as if you do. I believe fact that the Detroit grocery claim has become so widespread is because too many people were looking for confirmation for their beliefs about the city, rather than taking a step back and thinking about what it really means.

Comments

B. P. Beckley said…
People love having things they can criticize without having to think for a single second about it. Cleveland has been suffering from that for years, and now the same thing is happening to Detroit.

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Commuting Meets Technology

I'm finally out of the dark ages. I got an Android smartphone over the weekend and have since been in the process of exploring the Android apps market.  One thing I've immediately noticed is the really wide range of usefulness in the apps. For example, the WeatherBug app is fantastic. It automatically determines your location and gives you exact conditions for that location. On the other end of the spectrum, Google's Goggles app is supposed to be a type of 'visual search' where you snap of photo of something and Google searches for it. In each of my attempts to use it, the app hasn't returned any search results. I even took a photo of a bottle of Pepsi (figuring it as a common houseful item) and got nothing.

Somewhere in the middle is this app called Waze. Have a look at their 'guided tour':



Some people might look at it and comment on the amazing evolution of technology or on the incredible value of social networks. To me, Waze says something important ab…