Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Welcome to the Urbanophile

Welcome, and thank you for reading. Camus claimed that whether or not to commit suicide was the question of philosophy. Well, for blogs, the question is, “Why create yet another blog?” So I feel compelled to offer this apology.

This blog is going to be something I’ve seen no where else: a no-hold’s barred, spare no illusions look at aspiring cities, focused on the smaller cities of the Midwest and Indiana. You’ll find my ofttimes contrarian take on urban planning, economic development, transportation, what it means to be “world class”, and how places measure up against that standard. But beyond that you’ll get unique data and analysis you won’t find anywhere else.

I’ve often said the measure of a newspaper column is, having seen the title and the author, whether or not you even need to read it. So often there’s no point. You already know what the person in question is going to say and there’s nothing new to be gained. I’m going to strive to be judged by that standard. Over time, you will no doubt come to know my opinions and principles, which will allow you to predict my opinion on a subject. But I hope you’ll always find the posts worth reading because there is something in there you didn’t know and didn’t expect.

My goal is no less than to change to course of history. Or failing that, to at least cause people with an open mind to at least think and ponder on points of view they may not have considered before.

Barring blatantly inappropriate posts, I plan to leave comments wide open, so please post away. I expect and indeed hope for violent disagreement in many areas. That’s ok. But please try to lay off any personal attacks. I myself plan to live by this rule. I’m going to be hard hitting, but I’m going to try not to criticize individuals. I’ll certainly criticize decisions, statements, and actions taken by individuals, but so often people who do things that are, well, stupid, aren’t doing it out of maliciousness or even stupidity. But they lack awareness and are trapped in a system that doesn’t let them do what otherwise they might. So I’m going to try to “not hate the player, hate the game”. But I may not always stick to this as there are a handful of people I think have wrought so much harm, they deserve to be named and shamed.

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The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. It's great for anyone who cares about our cities.

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About the Urbanophile

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Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.

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