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I feel like the intentions of this article are honest and thoughtful, but in reality, it's not a new concern and many people have had similar concerns for years. The conversation is Groundhog Day every time I hear it; same arguments and concerns, same lack of conclusions.
You want a city where local artists and creative talent can thrive and maybe even make a living. Great! I agree! But we aren't willing to recognize what it will take in order to create a population large enough to effectively patron the arts? We want jobs and good economic security, but want to get rid of the raw industries that make up the economic backbone of the city/region?
We want a population that will consume entertainment and support businesses related to tourism or casual shopping, but still want that small-town feel where you can go fishing within a 5 minute drive of downtown?
Spokane is made up of so many experiences and realities, and the possibilities are endless because we do so many different things. It's inevitable that encouraging a entertainment-friendly, tourist-friendly, arts-centered, urban planned city will kill the economic and social goals of the other half of Spokane. There's nothing wrong with the plan, and I have long looked forward to making Spokane a cultural and intellectual capital as well. These contradictions won't disappear, however. The biggest example that I can think of is the debate regarding the location of the Plaza directly downtown. Businesses and city planners have long argued that the location needs to change; the entire block is prime real estate for business, and the Plaza isn't exactly most people's idea of an organized and comfortable venue that makes Spokane seem safe and approachable. What I just said might be considered offensive, right? Well, we want that reflection of an organized city of modernity, but won't do it if it upsets our previous understandings of what a 'perfect' city in the lap of modernity is.
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