Hello. Welcome to the 'Make No Little Plans' blog.
So what does this blog aim to do?? Well, here's my abstract of sorts.
'Make No Little Plans' is about the economic and policy issues that are affecting our fine city. It's about why this city was destined to be more than it has become and why its fate is important to the country, some contributing factors in how it became what it is today, and how we might properly address the problems that we're facing today.
I mean not to be so arrogant as to presume my answers to be the only viable ones. But I will declare them to be based on the reality that the people of Chicago face rather than the reality lived in by our politicians and all those who genuflect for their favors.
Unfortunately, the current iteration of Chicago faces problems on such a scale as can hardly be understood. Much has been made of Chicago being the 'most American city.' To the extent that this city may be a microcosm for the state of the nation at large, I agree. To find the quintessential example of the plight and glory of the American metropolis, researchers converge on Chicago. Case studies of the generic large American metropolis disproportionately address this city (certainly not because it's generic, but rather very representative).
The problems of the nation are found here in miniature. The mountain of state and local level debt is nowhere as deep as in Illinois and Chicago. The twentieth century labor cartels are nowhere as strong in the twenty-first century as they are here. The war on drugs is nowhere more destructive. The shifting of power to the state from the county and to the feds from the state is nowhere more apparent than it is here. The cities' and states' preoccupation with submissively begging for their tax dollars to be kindly redistributed back to them is again nowhere more obvious in the cityscape. And the original cityscape is nowhere more obviously market produced.
In this space I will focus on individual problems at all levels of government and how they affect Chicago and Chicagoans. I'll explore the current state of affairs as a commentary, and examine how it differs from the prior state of our city. And I'll explore the difference between what worked before and what can work today.
The question needs to be asked, what effect must the loss of a million people have on the kind of solutions we as a community propose? How can we bring people back to Chicago? In what ways do we shoot ourselves in the foot, as opposed to being shot in the foot by Springfield and DC? And above all, how can we cease being our own worst enemy? How can Chicago progress in terms of making this a better place to live? How can we get over our hurdles without setting ourselves to trip on the next ones? The solutions must respond to the situation today, and not decades ago, if we want to avoid simply creating more new problems with our solutions than the ones thereby addressed.
Chicago cannot afford to continue to avoid discussing and considering all ideas, 'radical' or otherwise. Indeed, the most radically unwise option is to continue the model as it exists today. The city must change its way of addressing its challenges or risk continuing the trends of the past ten years.
As a preview of something I hope to address soon, consider the recent shuttering of the Hull House organization, and what this says about the current model of addressing the poor vs the older model. With that in mind, I'll examine some old pictures of the area between the South loop and Bronzeville, and compare what was there before vs what is there today. That area happened to be stuffed with private organizations and their outreach efforts in the areas of medicine and welfare. It's quite a contrast with the top down planning that has obliterated these particular blocks in the later half of the twentieth century.
To any readers, I'd like to say welcome. All discussion, disagreements, and objections are welcome.