Monday, October 31, 2005

Alameda town plaza idea

Save the historic theater or bring back the movies? Are the options really that far apart? Do we lose the theater unless we build out an 8-screen multiplex? Alameda's general plan calls for some new gathering space within the heart of the city, so the anti-multiplex group asked me to illustrate a town plaza. Architectural work is not my area of training, but I am able to put down on paper what people describe.

I've lived in Alameda for just 7 years, so I'm a newcomer. I have been able to watch the city struggle to find itself after the Navy left. It's floundering. I'd like to see Alameda rise up to become jewel of community, local business and environmental awareness, with strong spiritual foundations. I'd like us to find ways to apply the best of what our society is discovering about how to be a society. I don't think a multiple screen cineplex is part of that.

Alamedans need to get out more. They need to go to Ashland, Eugene, West Yellowstone, and Olympia. They need to see how other large "small towns" manage growth, density, and diversity. As long as we don't go look for ourselves, then the big-box developers will always be able to push their Sprawl solutions onto us.

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