Wednesday, August 13

From Missoula to Charlottesville

I started this blog about a year ago as a semi-public way for me to hash out my personal thoughts about urban form and community. An intellectual journal of sorts, available for others to correct and hopefully fine-tune. But before long I realized that the most interesting posts, as well as the ones that generated the most discussion, were those based in my particular city of Missoula. I discovered what should have been obvious all along: issues like transportation and zoning are pretty boring unless they are about the particular roads and lands that real people use. That's where the action is.

I found myself involved in some fascinating local discussions at other Missoula blogs, especially 4 & 20 Blackbirds. And Carol at Missoulapolis also had some pretty reasonable things to say from a Conservative perspective, even if I found some of her regular commenters a little exasperating. New West online, the Missoulian newspaper, and occasionally the Independent did a good job pushing planning issues into the public spotlight, often with front page exposure. Missoula also hosted a myriad of non-profits and community organizations with their eyes on improving the city.

All of this is to say that moving away from Missoula has been somewhat of an identity crisis for this blog. My first impressions of Charlottesville are very positive, but it's hard to have much to add to local dialog as a sojourner. So, I'll probably sit on the sidelines for a while, and go back to posting on some general philosophy and principles of urbanism. Maybe I'll also delve into some policy issues with a national scope. We'll see what comes out.

I miss all of you in Missoula, and I've learned so much just from living there.


Rebecca said...

Reading your thoughtful comments on 4 & 20 was always a pleasure, Daniel. I hope you make your way through Charlottesville's online discussions as gracefully as you did in Missoula.

Pete Talbot said...

I echo Rebecca's sentiments, Daniel. And please keep sharing your insights on growth, development, transportation, planning, etc. -- they've always been positive and well-reasoned.

If I remember correctly, Charlottesville has a lovely, restored downtown area. Enjoy.