Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vote With Your Dollars: Support Your Downtown

City Place in downtown Long Beach is a great new residential/retail development with progressive parking principles and ample sidewalks
Google Maps Street View

Many of us are stuck in places where the car is king and walking, riding a bike, or using transit aren't as convenient as they should be. I'm a big believer in voting with your dollars. In other words, when you spend money on something, you're saying you approve of that thing and you want more of it to be produced. When you buy a bike, you're saying you want more bikes. When you buy a tank of gasoline, you're saying you want more gasoline.

To some extent this is true of urban form as well. When you shop at strip malls with ample free parking, in a way you're saying "I approve of strip malls with ample free parking". When you shop in a dense, mixed-use, walkable downtown area, you're saying you approve of that urban form.

This won't always be workable. Sometimes you save time and energy by shopping at the closest suburban place. However, if you want downtowns to thrive, you should spend your money in them at least occasionally, even if you have to go a bit out of your way to do so.

Of course, my philosophy is, why commute to a good downtown, if you can live there?

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