A little black bird told me that the water main that busted between Clinton and Dubuque streets had a rusty smile on its face. It was said that a long line ran along the break and curved up at the both ends with lines that looked like rows of rusty teeth.
What does this signify? “No one tears a piece from a new coat and puts it on an old one; if he does, not only will the new one continue to rip, but the piece from the new will not match the old….” (Luke 5:36-37)
It is not enough to beautify the outside of the city without inspecting its infrastructure defects. Defects include quality of life issues such as the privatization of public space. Most visibly public space being privatized is downtown Iowa City sidewalks.
Philip Langdon in “Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation over Public Space” (2010) writes that “the non-consuming public” to feel it is being excluded from public spaces … some cities, in encouraging sidewalk dining, have either allowed cafe owners to place fences around outdoor areas or have mandated them. “Whereas in Paris the private space of the cafe blends seamlessly into the public space of the sidewalk, in U.S. cities, fences create an abrupt border” (see http://bettercities.net/article/sidewalks-conflict-and-negotiation-over-public-space).
I am not against progress. I am against careless zoning of outdoor cafes that occupy two-thirds of the sidewalk, endangering pedestrian mobility.
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