Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
How do you know a city that takes pride in itself? It’s often the littlest things. Consider this stop sign from the city of Chicago.
At first, this looks like any ordinary stop sign. But take a closer look at the bottom and look at what we see.
The people who make street signs in the Chicago care enough, put enough pride into their work and their city, to sign the city’s name at the bottom of every sign. This tells us something very powerful about the that place. Think it is an accident of geography, luck, or history that made Chicago what it is today? Think again. There something real and something deeper, and it shows itself even in the most humble of civic adornments, the street signs. It’s like I’ve always said:
“The mark of a great city is in how it treats its ordinary spaces, not its special ones.”
Chicago obviously get it. And that’s one reason it is a truly world class city.
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. Great for anyone who cares about our cities, The Urban State of Mind also makes a great gift this holiday season.
About the Urbanophile
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.