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Monday, September 14, 2009

I Will Stay If...

From Rustwire comes this:

I Will Stay If...

Do you think this campaign is too negative a concept for the already under fire Rustbelt?

Or, do you think this lights a fire beneath the leadership of slow-to-change Rustbelt cities like St. Louis and Detroit? Does it say to them, these are the basic quality of life issues I want to see addressed, or else? To that end, what role do citizens themselves have in shaping the environments they boldly demand on these signs?

Should it be: "I Will Stay, and I Will Make the Following Necessary Change in My City:..." ?

Sorry, I am always verbose.


STLgasm said...

I think it's an ingenious campaign.

Matt M. said...

Why not start this up in St. Louis? Make it more public, though.

Maybe set up a table on Euclid where people hold up their own sign for however long they want. Someone stands in one spot to photograph.

Unknown said...

I like the idea of having a "I will stay in St. Louis and ..." campaign. The idea is that the city doesn't own you anything, but that you have something to contribute to the city. It could tackle the same issues, "I will stay in St. Louis promote cycling and bike lanes." but be more positive.

Vanishing STL said...

I have never been a fan of ultimatums, but I do really like the "I will stay in St. Louis and..." help replace I-70 Downtown with an urban boulevard. This could be a brilliant campaign if pulled off right.

It's always a good thing when you get people to stop and think "how can I make a positive change in my city?" This could be a great tool to get some of those people who might be thinking about doing something, but have not acted yet.

It would be a good tool to use w/ kids about to graduate Wash U or SLU, and thinking: "should I stay here?"

Chris said...

I think this is a horrible campaign. It is so negative, and speaking as someone who lived on the East Coast, it's not some magic fairyland of bike lanes, as this person in the picture implies.

Michael R. Allen said...

Why is it not "I will stay BECAUSE"?

My generation is great at complaining. How about celebrating our successes?

Chris said...

Amen, Michael

Matt M. said...

Yes, Michael and Chris, that is why I posted this. At first glance, it just turns me off and strikes me as too negative.

I personally will return to St. Louis and will not wait around for people to provide me with everything I want in a city. The excitement of being in a city like St. Louis is the potential for you and like-minded others to bring about those changes! (/youthful idealism)

David said...

I really like Vanishing STL's comment, "I will stay in St. Louis and help improve X." This prevents negative ultimatums.

Seth Teel said...

The campaign is negative; STL Urban Workshop, Chris, and Michael all make good points. But, St. Louis isn't bicycle unfriendly. We have decent cycling infrastructure: a network of bike lanes, greenways, dedicated trails/paths, and an active cycling community (MObikeFed, Trailnet, FBC, Bikeworks, etc.) The problem with cycling in St. Louis is the unfriendly and inconsiderate drivers. I am willing to bet its the same in Detroit. One of the few "nice" things about inner-city disinvestment coupled with sprawl is that after 6pm a cyclist owns the road.

STLgasm said...

I don't think it's a negative campaign at all. I think the point is to hold these cities to a higher standard. Clearly the people featured in these photographs love their city, just as we love St. Louis. The great cities of the rust belt are in a unique place in history because they reached a level of prominence in their heyday that far exceeds the Portlands, Austins, and Charlottes of today, yet their dramatic declines have them as places to be from rather than places to move to. The reasons are many, and they are no accident. These cities, by and large, have been behind the curve in terms of urban innovation compared to other cities. "I will stay if" shines light on the possibilities that could become realities, and I have a good feeling that the individuals participating in the campaign are not just sitting back and waiting for it to happen. After all, these cities are pretty good at weeding out the people who expect to have their urban experienced wrapped and packaged for them, and they would've caught the train to Lincoln Park long ago.

Matt M. said...

Yes, and though I posed the question of the roles of citizens in making their signs a reality, the guy holding the bike sign is wearing a Biking Detroit t-shirt. He may have been suggesting he's already involved. Good point, Jeff, but I do maintain that St. Louis should do one more akin to "I am staying because..."

Stidle said...

I'm not sure entirely where I fall after some reflection, but I must admit that my first reaction to this campaign was negative...It sounds like these people are holding their respective cities hostage or something. "I will only stay under the following circumstances" seems a little harsh.

David said...

Yup. Immature, young adults tend to play this childish game. Then they get jaded and move on.

St. Louis needs mature, idealistic leaders.

Daron said...

This is so sad. Why do people misplace their ambitions like this. Bike lanes are less safe for bikes than mixed traffic. Take the lane, be seen, and you calm traffic. The best thing you can do for biking in Detroit is to simply bike in the street every day.

If you're afraid of cars, lobby for a network of greenways and bikeways separate from the streets. See the STL river ring, yangjaecheon, etc.

Jason M. Stokes said...

@Daron : While it may be safer to own the lane, you obviously haven't biked in St. Louis. I'd be afraid of being run down for "slowing traffic" on most city streets.

@everyone I'm all about making it "why I love St. Louis, or I will stay because" - the statement posed with Detroit is so negative.

Anonymous said...

Well looks like mission accomplished. We are all discussing the campaign. As for St. Louis, we have not been hit like Detroit. Here we have the opportunity to say... "I love St. Louis because....".

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