|Existential Suburban Supermarket|
There might be no greater example of the fact that urban areas are going through a renaissance than the fact that food markets are once again opening up in them. It is one of the saddest and most shameful moments in the middle-class flight to the 'burbs that the basic institutions of life were drawn out of cities. These included things like grocers, clothing stores, hardware shops and all the rest of it. But, the worst, from a human point of view was the loss of places to buy quality foods.
The result are vast areas of urban America that are only served by fast food restaurants and (possibly) bodegas that sell the worst kind of processed food crap. Buying a head of lettuce might require several hours on a bus with multiple changes. Before anyone moralizes about this fact, ask yourself, when was the last time I put in three hours of effort for a salad?
|Old Time Downtown Market|
One of the best things about living in a city is that you don not need a car to accomplish the daily things of life. In fact, a lot of urban designers define cities by this metric: can you reasonably (about 10 minutes) walk or ride a bike to the daily activities of life. If the answer is no, you may have density but still lack a functioning city. The opening of this market in Allentown and the Bethlehem Food Cooperative in Bethlehem show that middle class folks are once again focusing their attention into the downtowns. They want actual workable cities---not just density.
Finally, one last observation. What brought this supermarket into the downtown? It was the NIZ. Molovinsky claims that the rite aid used to serve the purpose of a market, that is ludicrous. I have worked downtown for many years and knew that Rite aid well. There were bags of candy and sports drink---not much else. THE NIZ, with its thousands of well payed workers are the ones with the money to create a demand for a market. Money begets money and what Allentown has needed for a long time is a critical density of wealth to spur more and more development. The NIZ has kick started that sort of development. And this market is a great indication of how the government's investment is helping the little guy.