Friday, June 8, 2012

Opponent vs Enemy: We Can all Get Along

In the previous post, I listed who I thought was responsible for pushing for the Trinity Parkway. I was given some advice that the debate is much better based on fact, rather than the conjecture of creating a Citizens Council vs. everybody topic.

To be clear, I am not about making this an us vs. them or me vs. you. Since planning was first established, a critique has always been that it is a top down, here's what is good for you approach. I firmly believe that best way to create change is to understand the people, neighborhood, community, whatever, that planners are dealing with for their specific project. In this case, understand why some folks are pushing for a project I oppose.

Why do I advocate that? It leads to understanding. I don't think the Citizens Council is a bad group because they support this project that I don't. They are responsible for a lot of what has made Dallas what it is today. For me, that is not always a good thing in the urban vs. suburban setting. My perspective is different than many of theirs, no more or less.

I also believe that is missing in our everyday discourse. We can be on opposite sides of an issue, but at the end of the day be friends. My best friend has some radically different points of view on some issues and we have discussed it repeatedly in the past. He is a libertarian and I am a left of center thinker. In the end, we are still each others best friend.

I want Dallas to be as urban as possible in the center city. From that very perspective, I am against the business community behind the road, who is approaching it from a different angle. Overall, I am neither right or wrong and the same applies to them.

Now certainly there are some things that don't fall neatly into sides. If you are pro-road, but anti-big government projects, then it isn't a clear black or white. How do you balance you desire for more auto-options against very expensive public works?

I often take the City of Dallas to task, because they say one thing, but do another. If you want to encourage a vibrant Downtown, you need to do things that aren't anti-urban, like build freeways and do mor urban-friendly things, like work on transit and biking options. I'd be far less critical if they would say we want Downtown to be more like an office park. Like the urban promotion, they are doing some things that will accomplish the goal, and some that aren't. Of course, in a city the size of Dallas, that really should be no surprise.
If anything, that's what I want this blog do, invoke the critical thinking that urban issues so often don't see. I want some folks of the status quo to see another side. Let me quote something I wrote in my first post.

Disagreements are encouraged, but personal attacks are not. Editorially speaking, I feel this country has taken a step backwards because anyone who disagrees with me must be an idiot (generically speaking). I am of the opinion that any attempts to be made at societal betterment has to come from an understanding of the other side, but more importantly, a middle ground is available and attainable.

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