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WHERE IS THE THERE,THERE?

Community centers

 


 

Many cities have many hubs, centers of activity of  given areas or neighborhoods. At the other end of the scale, at the village level, there is usually one hub if there is any.


 

There is no sense of space there nor sense of community in many obscure villages in this country and in Europe, especially in many of the suburbs. Where is the community's central place, where it its hub?


 

I have never bumped into the President of the Village of Shorewood anywhere on Oakland or Capitol. Nor have I seen our village manager nor our director of community development anywhere near there.


 

I should have seen one of these village leaders somewhere in the center of the community over the past 3 to 5 years other than at the official organizing place called Village Hall.


 

Perhaps we don't find reason to be where the activity is because there isn't much activity there. As Gertrude Stein said, “there is no there, there.” Perhaps there's a lack of continuous human presence there?


 

Someone called this presence, “peopleness.” If there is no relevance of space to people, there is no there, there.


 

One of the reasons for this lack of continuous human presence is that most people who live in suburbs have interests outside of the community itself, except perhaps for the the schools that the community provides for their children.


 

Shopping malls never provided any sense of community nor sense of there, there. I've driven through the Glendale shopping mall several times to get a sense of the activity. I've even stopped and tried to shop or have lunch there. I've been in the old Boston Store and Sears which were there before the new mall included them in the new development.


 

There is no sense of community nor “ a continuous present” there. It seems to be just around the corner, but that corner is like the one you just turned. Why are people even there? Are the enterprises located there, something in which a reasonable person would invest in?


 

We have no there in Shorewood and our leaders are working pretty hard at providing a”there, there”.


 

I'm not so sure we know what it is, but we seem to sense it when we find a place like this somewhere in the world. This place is perhaps a hub with certain uniqueness. I think that uniqueness and sustained peopleness are central to a community hub.


 

And until we find what it is to develop a “continuous presence” there at the heart of our village, Oakland and Capitol, there will never be a there, there.

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