Saturday, April 11th, 2009

The Outsiders

What does it take in a city to bring about change? I believe that one key prerequisite for change is a critical mass of outsiders; that is, a large enough of group of people who moved there without a background or personal connection to a place. Why?

Outsiders are willing to imagine things being different in the first place since they already experienced and indeed grew up in an environment that is different. It’s sort of like visiting a foreign country for the first time. We notice how all sorts of little things are different, prompting four reactions. The first is, “Hey, things are different here.” That can be a revelation itself. When we grow up and experience only one way of doing things, we tend to think everybody must do it that way or that there is only one way to do it. Perhaps for many things, we aren’t even conscious of them to begin with. We have an amazing ability as humans to render the commonplace invisible. But when suddenly faced with difference that intrudes itself upon our consciousness, we become aware, maybe for the first time.

The second reaction is, “Hey, it’s different, but it still works.” Now of course there are places where this isn’t true. But for most middle to upper income countries, it works. We not only see a different system, different language, different laws, different customs, etc., we see that this is system actually functions. That’s a powerful, though perhaps unconscious, message in itself.

The third reaction is, “Wow – that’s cool! Wouldn’t it be great if we did that?” Some things I remember noticing about Paris from my first trip was that you could buy beer in a coffee shop, the metro system used rubber wheels and wasn’t noisy, it had incredible headways, and the lattice design allowed easy “anywhere to anywhere” journeys. Usually when ever I visit a place I come away with at least one new good idea.

The fourth reaction is, “Wow – that’s strange. Why do they do that?” What do you mean shops don’t open on Sunday and the grocery closes at 4pm? That sort of thing. We see the quirks that came from that country’s unique history for what they are. We are willing to question why things are the way they are.

What is true in a more stark form overseas is also true to a lesser degree domestically for cities. Outsiders are aware of what is different. Hopefully they see some things they like and appreciate the way things work. But also they see, are aware of, and can question things that just don’t make any sense. Someone who is on the inside will rarely do that.

When I talk to people who have lived in place basically their whole life, what I find most difficult is to make them aware of what the outsider sees when they visit that community. People who haven’t left can’t even imagine that things might be different. Different thinking doesn’t even register for them. It’s not that they are stupid or anything, but they don’t have the experience to allow them to process either the reality of their locale or imagine anything being other than what it is. It’s like children in a sense, who adapt themselves remarkably to almost any situation in which they are raised. Why would they question anything? They’ve never known anything different.

Again, this is why in an ever more complex, diverse, globalized, rapidly changing world, a community’s best interest is not served by having a city of people who’ve never lived anywhere else.

Beyond this, for anyone raised in a community, even those who left, the past is always with them. The way we are raised is always “home” for us. And when we return we are changed to be sure, more aware, with new ideas and experiences, but we also quickly readapt ourselves to home. Think about adult children visiting their parents. I know I always am a bit of a different person at Mom’s than I am at my house. Also, most boomerangers didn’t spend that many years away. Probably college and say 6-12 years in another place. Bring them back and you’ve got 18 years of upbringing plus every year that you are back to resocialize and “go native”. Boomerangers are good to be sure, but aren’t the whole answer either.

I think the essential third ingredient is true outsiders. You need them, and you need enough of them that they a) don’t get beaten down by the man, so to speak and b) that they become a base of support for change in their own right. Once this group becomes large enough, it opens up the field of possibilities. They have the insights and different ideas from having lived elsewhere. They aren’t bought into the status quo or burdened by the baggage of the past. They are willing to question they way things are done. They are more likely to want change.

In short, outsiders are the natural constituency for the new. That’s why outsiders are so important for a community to change, and why absent enough newcomers, change is difficult if not impossible.

Intriguing evidence of how this works in practice comes from a BYU study that made news this week. Researchers found that teams working on problems were more likely to reach a successful conclusion when there was at least one socially distinct newcomer. It’s definitely worth reading and hints to me that the critical mass might not be that big. A little leaven…

This idea is why I focus so much on in-migration as so important for a community. It is important in multiple ways, but one of them is simply that it shows a community that is adding to its base of outsiders. In this case, I think in the inflow is actually more important than the outflow. Indeed, in some respects, if your outflow is high too, that builds your base of outsiders even quicker, if the departees are natives. Though I still think a community wants net in-migration.

And it is domestic in-migration that is the key. International immigration is good in its own way, but it strikes me that most immigrants are not likely to get engaged in being a force for change in a community. Many of them can’t vote, and probably fear a backlash even if they are legally in the country. I know if I moved to a foreign country, my goal would be to figure out how it works, to adapt myself to it, and keep my head down. I certainly wouldn’t move to a place and become a political agitator, that’s for sure. Let’s face it, that type of action has, in almost any country, a sort of moral illegitimacy. Who knows, perhaps rightly so.

Whatever the case, it is domestic migration that drives change. Without it, a community calcifies. No matter how much the people there might like the way things are, in a rapidly changing world, communities need to change along with it to adapt. It’s not a luxury, it is a necessity.

If you look at the cities that are generally viewed as progressive and successful, all of them seem to have large and increasing numbers of outsiders. Tellingly, they often feature mayors who aren’t natives. I don’t tend to see that in the Midwest. In many places it is inconceivable. John Hickenlooper of Denver, for example, is from Pennsylvania.

Of course, this sets up the chicken and egg dilemma for Midwest cities. They need outsiders to change, but without change they can’t attract outsiders. Which comes first? I think the path to every place is different, but often it starts with outsiders.

A lot of the places with outsiders went through various boom and bust cycles. Booms attract people in their own right. People often latch onto an economic boom cycle without particular concern about the characteristics of the place it is located. People didn’t head to San Francisco in 1848 to take advantage of the city’s cultural opportunities. They did it to get rich. While booms and busts lead to pain, they can also, like a naturally occurring forest fire, help set the stage for the next phase of growth and often create some interesting legacies. Some bad of course, but some good. Would San Francisco be San Francisco today without the gold rush? In this regard, the “steady eddie” Midwest approach, often touted as a strength, could be an actual source of its problems. It is interesting to think about at least.

A boom doesn’t seem likely in the Midwest, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a bust. Indeed, there already is in many auto dependent places. This is driving out-migration from those places, and perhaps some towns can pick it up. This would be sort of like the dust bowl migration to California. In the Midwest, people tend to stay close to home. While I think the value sets of the Midwestern states are similar enough that you don’t get the full effect of having outsiders from other regions of the countries, any little bit helps.

The problem is that this sort of intra-region migration is only good for some places. One city’s loss is another’s gain, if there isn’t reciprocal migration, which I don’t think their will be in most cases. The beneficiaries are likely to be those that are already doing well: Minneapolis, Kansas City, Columbus, Indianapolis, Des Moines, Madison.

The alternative is simply good and courageous leadership. Leaders have to step forward in the community and make the case for change. Absent that, the prognosis isn’t good.

Topics: Demographic Analysis, Economic Development, Public Policy, Talent Attraction

34 Responses to “The Outsiders”

  1. Anonymous says:

    As an “outsider” who has lived in Indy for a few years now, I understand your point. I think, for whatever reasons, Midwesterners have a tough time pushing toward excellence. Mediocrity is not only accepted, but often rewarded. The pathology of this self-immolating behavior is hard to pin down: Could it be ingrained social networks (the good ‘ol boy system) that prevents progress? Perhaps, but a more likely culprit is *education*. Midwesterners (when compared to coasties) are relatively uneducated. Per the 2000 Census, the population in the South and a belt through the Midwest are just now “catching up” to the coasts (especially the East coast) i terms of level of education achieved. I don’t think this is a coincidence when asking questions like “what does it take to bring about change?” It takes brains.

  2. Pantograph Trolleypole says:

    I think this is a key reason why a place like Charlotte is changing so much. With the Banks (B of A HQ) moving there, many East and West coasters flooded the city and saw opportunities.

  3. Lynn Stevens says:

    Good insight. I wonder what the tipping point is in terms of %age of population.

    Anon’s point about education goes hand in hand.

    I found Chicago particularly insular when I moved here, even at the social level, let alone in terms of city leadership.

  4. Lynn Stevens says:

    I should add I moved to Chicago from D.C. area, which with elections every couple of years has a lot of churn (there’s a down side to that too — especially on a social level). With HQs of international organizations in D.C. to boot, there’s a heightened degree of highly educated outsider influence.

    D.C., as a city, tho, doesn’t seem too open to change as a result. The outsiders tend to focus on Federal govt. and international organizations.

  5. The Urbanophile says:

    Thanks for all the comments.

    anon 2:03, while I think a city certainly needs educated people, I’m not so certain that it is actually only the “best and brightest” that matter. I don’t want to go into this now, since I’ve got a lengthy blog post on the topic in my idea file, but I think just having newcomers of any sort is valuable.

    PT, I think you are very right on Charlotte. Something else to consider on that point. It wasn’t just the bank HQ’s. A lot of Wall Street type firms outsourced back office work to Charlotte way back – I think starting in the 80’s, before the concept of offshoring really came in vogue. Charlotte was a “nearshore” center.

    Chicago is an interesting case. I think, like many ultra-big cities, it has a dual dynamic. There’s a strong culture rooted in long time residents, but also a powerful business class made up largely of transplants. Certainly the number of in-city transplants has soared since I first moved there in 1992.

  6. thundermutt says:

    An illustration of two of Urbanophile’s main points about outsiders’ views (#1 and #4):

    As a young adult I moved to Indianapolis. Grocery stores were open on Sundays, and they had beer/wine aisles in them. I came from a state on the East Coast that still had Blue Laws and State Liquor monopolies. (Wow, cool!)

    But my pleasure was short-lived: I tried to buy a bottle of wine on Sunday. How was an outsider to know that wasn’t possible? There was no sign. The cashier looked at me as if I were crazy. (Dang! That’s nuts!)

    (Law still hasn’t changed, even though we can now buy overpriced booze before noon on Sunday at the various stadia around town.)

  7. thundermutt says:

    Anon, the increase in people with degrees in Indy has just about kept up with the rest of the US in my 20+ years here. But Indy started out behind and has stayed behind.

    I think in the early 80’s the percentage with postsecondary degrees was about 20% (one in five). If I recall correctly we’re closer to 30% (nearly one in three) now on a much larger population base.

    On the positive side, that means a big chunk of the population growth in the last 20-30 years has been in educated people, since both the proportion and the population have grown significantly.

    While the whole state still has its fair share of the undereducated, I don’t think that’s true of the newcomers to the Indy metro.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The influx of the outsider can be a double-edged sword. In my suburban community, many of the outsiders are fairly transient. Good, right? New people bringing in new ideas? Not so much. Instead, these outsiders aren’t interested in making investments in the community (unless they can see a personal benefit and then they are all for it.) They don’t have a time frame beyond the next few years and they’re not interested in long-term investments. They also lack a historical connection to the community which means our local historical resources are viewed not as part of our local history but “old junk” to be demolished. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% on board with the idea of getting out in the world and seeing and experiencing new things. Lots of the ideas I’ve brought back to my community I’ve picked up elsewhere. I also know that new residents can help energize a community or bring forward new priorities. But it also can come with some downsides which we shouldn’t ignore.

  9. The Urbanophile says:


    I don’t have the facts in front of me, but I speculate most regions are gaining in college education attainment rates through demographic forces alone. The young get college degrees at a higher rate than the old. As folks of my grandparents generation pass on (none of my grandparents had a college degree – my paternal grandparents never even attended high school, much less graduated from it), this boosts the percentage of people with college degrees.

    anon 10:09, there’s probably something to that as well. A town of transients and nothing but may not be great either. And even if you have people who put down roots, without enough natives, do you have any real culture or uniqueness for your city? As with everything, there are tradeoffs. However, I should note that most cities seems to have a suburb or two made up of lots of “corporate transfer” types that nevertheless seems to do well in some regard. Naperville, IL comes to mind.

    Again, another fertile area for academic study I think.

  10. Jeffrey Cufaude says:

    Change also can come from people who regularly travel and spend time “outside.” This is regularly written about in the literature on innovation (i.e., The Medici Effect by Franz Johannson).

    I travel about about 100 days for work outside Indy, primarily to other large urban areas, and regularly return with inspired by much of what I’ve seen … as in your example of Paris.

    I think it is as much exposure to another way of doing things as it is having to completely come from another place. Complete outsiders sometimes bring their experience of place as try to overall it completely on a new environment without sufficient regard for the new context. It’s more about adaption than adoption.

  11. thundermutt says:

    Aaron, Carmel immediately came to mind re “corporate transfer” types. Such ‘burbs have lots of 4-bedroom homes, good schools, stable resale values. (I grew up in a number of them around the US.)

    I didn’t make my point about the increasing number of degree-holders. You are absolutely right: among people under 60 everywhere the proportion of degree-holders is higher. It gets higher with each younger demographic slice.

    I was trying to highlight the double benefit of consistent population growth via in-migration in a metro (in this case, Indianapolis): not only are more natives seeking degrees, but a big proportion of in-migrants have one.

    So the absolute number of degreed people is growing faster than just the demographic shift toward the “native young” who are more likely to have degrees. This bodes well for a city. I suspect it may be a key to regional growth. I suspect the declining- job metros on the Brookings link you posted probably don’t attract college grads.

  12. Jefferey says:

    Another excellent observation.

    This topic has come up here in Dayton, believe it or not, in various local blogosphere/forum dicussions. “The Man” ..what Jane Jacobs called “squelchers”…is here, but there is also a vacuum of leadership allowing outsiders to become more influential than expected. Case in point is the Dayton MostMetro forum & blog. The host has become a voice in local planning and development and now blogs for the newapaper.

    In Youngstown there is Phill Kidd who hosts Defend Youngstown, who was brought into city government as a downtown advocate. He was from Pittsburgh but moved to Youngstown for college and became a fan of the place.

    It was also an outsider (a city commissioner orginally from Rochester NY) who pushed the idea of a minor league baseball park in downtown Dayton.

    So there is a lot to be said about this concept.

    The travel thing is important. This leads to a certain cosmopolitanism and wilingness to try new things or new approaches. Perhaps this is what happened with Louisville, as that city has developed a lively urban culture without much in-migration (at first).

  13. The Urbanophile says:

    Thanks again for the comments.

    Jeff C., travel is definitely good. This is another area where the Midwest largely fails, however. Richard Longworth noted in his book how even educated leaders in Midwestern states had completely parochial mindsets. They were unaware of what was going on in the state next door, much less around the world.

    I think countering this force is one reason why Mayor Brainard in Carmel took his civic leaders on tours of other places. He wanted them to see first hand the best of what was out there. Hence his repeated admonitions in his speeches to “get out into the world” and see what is going on.

    One reason I tried to bring a pan-Midwest perspective to this blog was to help spread this awareness. I travel to visit cities, read up, etc. and try to share what I find with others. Too often progress or challenges are seen only in a purely local context. I’d rather people saw things in a broader view.

  14. The Urbanophile says:

    thunder, that makes sense because education increases mobility. Thus relocators are more likely to have degrees. I don’t have the facts to back this up in front of me though.

    Jeff in Dayton, thanks for sharing your observations of what has happened there.

    Some of it depends on the social dynamics of a place. I’m sure you’re familiar with it, but I’ll cite again Sean Safford’s Garden Club study that shows that an oversupply of social capital can increase the squelching effect. The social culture and penetrability of power structures clearly have something to do with it.

  15. Alon Levy says:

    I don’t agree that international immigrants keep their heads down. They do only in places that force them to. In immigrant-heavy cities like New York and Los Angeles, large groups of immigrants are a powerful political constituency.

    In some sense, international immigrants create more change than intranational ones: they’re likely to come from developing countries, so their new city is so much richer it’s unlikely they’ll leave soon.

  16. James says:

    I am a firm believer in this theory. I am an urban planner who lives and work in Chicago. I am also an outsider. It is my opinion and experience that many of my colleagues and community leaders who grew up here, have a backwards view of what the city has to offer and where it should go. It has baffled me for years why many of these intellegent people could see this dynamic city so different from me or why they do not want to see progress if it seenmed too risky. I finally realized nearly 5 years ago that it was the people who moved here from other places that had the energy and passion to want change and progress. This theory is visible throughout the city. The north lakefront and others (Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, Hyde Park, etc.) communities are vibrant and thriving. All of these communities have one thing in common. They all have a high percentage of residents born outside of Illinois. I am not saying that because you grew up in Chicago you are not progressive of open to change but, sometimes it takes a different point of view to move foward.

  17. No longer an outsider says:

    How far away do you have to come from to be a outsider? I work with a number of people here in Indianapolis that are from Indiana and went to collage in Indiana but have never lived or spent any significant time in Indianapolis. After two years, most of them have moved out of the county to the suburbs. How far away should a community go to target the new outsider? Is it just outside the city or should we be looking outside the Midwest?

  18. pete-rock says:

    First of all, James, good to see you. You know who I am.

    This was a very good read. I live and work in a city southwest of Chicago that is technically part of the Chicago metro area, but in many ways is typical of so many mid-size Midwestern blue-collar cities. One big difference — we’ve had explosive growth over the last 15 years or so, making us one of the fastest growing cities in the nation (at least until 2008).

    Despite the growth, there is a real antipathy toward outsiders here. A core group of people from one part of the city seem to dominate local politics and institutions. Little has been done to more fully integrate our cities’ newcomers. And I actually fear that our city may one day face the prospect of a deannexation. That is, unless something is done to make newcomers more included.

  19. This is how the way it goes says:

    In James World ,

    Skinny four story condo towers (which fill many of the areas you mention) that are going to fall apart in a generation. Which are filled with people who are ignorant of the south side- Little Village doesn’t even register on the radar for him as a place with a lot of “outsiders”- is progress, and moving forward.

    While he’s busy giving himself a pat on the back for his forward thinking nature, he’ll blow off my parents who have lived in the Chicago area all of their lives and decided to raise their family in a diverse area (ethnic and economic) and send their kids to diverse public schools in the city. As well as the thousand of others of similar background, who lived and invested in the same places in the eighties, he mentioned which are now so vibrant!

  20. This is how the way it goes says:

    Wow, that came off a little strong, well I don’t know you James, but one thing which does bug me people saying the changes which would suit them is “progress” and reflects “vision”

    so eh, there’s an almost untold story about people like my parents, _many (most?) from around here_ who took something of a chance on this city while there were teachers strikes every two years, and city hall was at a deadlock, and ohmigod, there’s a black mayor!!!

  21. Jim Russell says:

    I think Richard Florida’s “Tolerance” variable is nonsense. I don’t know of anyplace where the natives embrace newcomers. But the people come anyway.

    Change happens in spite of parochial politics and mindsets. I’m skeptical of initiatives calling for top-down engineering. Talent isn’t going to move in droves to Des Moines because of liberal social policy.

  22. Jefferey says:

    The remarks about oustider mayors has a classic case in Louisville back in the 1970s.

    The mayor then, Harvey Sloan, was very much an outsider, who came to Kentucky from Virginia, working on some sort of Great Sociey applachian poverty program and then drifted to Louisville, where he became involved in the neighborhood revival/restoration movement.

    Sloan ran as an insurgent candidate defeating the local political establishment as a representative of the
    new neighborhood politics and back-to-the-city movement of that era.

  23. The Urbanophile says:

    Thanks for all the good discussion.

    James, I appreciate the planner’s view from Chicago. You don’t always get a good sense of the full city when you are safely ensconced in Lakeview. Nice observations pete as well.

    Mr. anti-James, while I think newcomers are critical to change, that doesn’t mean I think lifelong residents are bad. We need diversity. Actually, with too high a percentage of newcomers you can end up with the weaknesses of a transient community, and it is long timers who really give a city a strong unique character – the type of character I love in a place.

    no longer an outsider, good question. I don’t know. I do think that in-state migration in Indiana isn’t quite as useful as say migration from another region of the country. Indy is definitely a Hoosier city. But I think simply moving away from where you grew up causes the type of healthy dislocation I’m talking about. Also, I think the relocations from outstate to Indy are disproportionately those with college degrees. This helps Indy, but reduces educational attainment in the rest of the state since those people mostly aren’t being replaced.

  24. The Urbanophile says:

    Jim, interestingly, I was discussing this very matter on another board today. Someone asked if Indy’s leadership was bad compared to other cities. I said I thought it was actually at least as good as most places if not better. Many very successful places that the Midwest envies have dysfunctional leadership cultures, don’t welcome outsiders, etc. But they have something that draws people despite this.

    I do think tolerance is importance in that you can’t have an overly restrictive social state. But I don’t think that necessarily requires leftist policies.

    I too am skeptical that you can use social policies to engineer talent growth. But you can hurt your cause. Cincinnati hurt its case badly in the public eye with things like the Mapplethope imbroglio.

    But I also believe that good leadership can help put in place the conditions that lead to talent attraction. Good leadership can make a huge difference in a city, if focused on the right things.

  25. Anonymous says:

    One thing I haven’t figured out is how outsiders change a place like Chicago in a way that natives can not. Think about it, most of the young people moving to Chicago don’t come from urban centers, they come from the suburbs of Michigan or Indiana or some similar place where there are few or no good models of what makes a good urban place. Sure, they’re open to change but the only models they have are big boxes and subdivisions. The same is true of a place like Charlotte, NC. Everyone talks about how Charlotte is dominated by outsiders, particularly from the Midwest. So how does it become this new urban hotspot when the people moving there don’t come with an urban experience?

  26. The Urbanophile says:

    anon 6:56 – good questions. I have a few thoughts I am planning for a future blog post. But won’t profess to have all the answers. In the meantime, I’m curious to hear what others might think.

  27. James says:

    Hello Pete good to see you hear also.

    I’m sorry if I offended you Mr. Little Village but, I am not saying that don’t add any value to moving this city forward. It’s just not that simple. There are many layers of scars that exist in Chicago due to its turbulent racial and economic history. I’m just saying that I’ve experience a lot of resistance to any change on many issued from people who grew up in those communities. In some case those same individuals have changed their position on issues but, usually after a lenghty time period. I guess that why I still have a job

  28. Alon Levy says:

    Cities dominated by newcomers from rural areas are nothing new. In every area that urbanizes rapidly, most people in the cities have moved in from rural areas. Typically this results in extensive slums, such as the old Lower East Side or modern Dharavi, with a lot of conflict between elite reformers and slum dwellers.

  29. The Urbanophile says:

    Alon, I think the Midwest/US is a different story from third world countries or times past when the US industrialized. The migration from rural to urban areas is disproportionately the educated from what I’ve seen. I certainly don’t see some influx of rural slum dwellers causing big tensions.

    For the most part. I can give one counter example. My Indianapolis neighborhood (Fountain Square), is largely populated by people of Appalachian origin. This has been the case for some time. When Dick Lugar was mayor in the late 60’s, he even commissioned a study called “The Appalachian in Indianapolis”. Even to this day, many of the residents are first generation “off the boat” from places like West Virginia. The contrast with the artists and folks like me who live there is interesting. However, I don’t sense a lot of tension, possibly because land prices remain extremely low and there hasn’t been any significant displacement of the poor.

  30. thundermutt says:

    Aaron, I also think there is something to the idea that Appalachians and “city people” share a “live and let live” mentality.

    There is no such thing as a city lawn nazi.

  31. pete-rock says:

    I wanted to follow up on some of the responses from James, the anti-James, and others.

    James and I have discussed this personally many times. I also believe that cities need a constant influx of “outsiders” to maintain themselves as dynamic environments, much like rain forests are dependent on rain and big rivers are dependent on snowmelt and tributaries from thousands of miles away.

    Yes, Chicago does rely on a lot of rural and small-town Midwest migration, whose principal model of the built environment is the subdivision or farm. But many of them grow up imaging something better, and are attracted to a city like Chicago because, while far from perfect, is closer to that vision. I think that becomes the basis for change.

    James offers a good explanation of how long-time residents can impede change — the layers of social, economic and racial history that shapes the thinking of people. Many long-time residents either wish to return to their version of a past that never really existed, or right the wrongs of the past before moving forward.

    Classic example: there is a relatively small but semi-vocal minority of Chicagoans who are against having the 2016 Olympics here. I think the main reason there is opposition is that there are people who feel Chicago hasn’t finished fulfilling its commitment to the poor and disenfranchised (read: long-time residents), and is investing in venues and infrastructure that leads to gentrification (read: new people).

  32. This is how the way it goes says:

    James and others,

    I have some experience with outsiders, as sort a of hired gun technocracy, placed in a community to do "progressive" work by established business & political interests, who could not understand why their plans of progress were being resisted.

    The powers behind the throne have said outright racist things to me, then the hired guns who are trying to make a name for themselves, have all sorts of smart sounding platitudes to say about why things have to be the way the power wants.

    They "outsiders" couldn't comprehend that their supposedly objective, well meaning plans, which were formed in (perhaps subconscious) collusion with said interests were objected to by the peons on the ground. They did not understand that they were hired to run interference for, and give a shroud of credibility to people who stood to make a lot of money at the expense of the poor suckers who might've lived in a place their whole lives.

    Anyway I like people moving to Chicago, I'm not against that in any respect. New blood, new pov is great, don't forget that reality didn't start when you got off the bus.

  33. pete-rock says:

    See the post above? I’ll quote myself from the last post I wrote:

    “Many long-time residents either wish to return to their version of a past that never really existed, or right the wrongs of the past before moving forward.”

  34. This is how the way it goes says:

    We are talking past each other.
    Pointing this out has nothing to do with righting the wrongs of the past. It has to do with understanding what (sometimes) happens now under the guise of “progress”.

    At least once in my recent experience outsiders “moving forward” were doing the bidding of racist, corrupt men.

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