What’s Our Story?

storyTwo instances in the last week have me thinking about Elgin’s “story.”

1) I met this week with the Housing Authority of Elgin, who is preparing to build a new senior housing building nearby, and rehab an existing building. A fellow attendee argued that this conflicted with all the work the city has been doing to rehab the downtown. But I disagree. I see it as part of the same story –  having seniors living near downtown helps cultivate the vibrant downtown we want.

2) A “Marketplace” piece on how some towns are thriving in part because,  “[T]hey’re building a specific story.  A story about the kind of town they are and want to be which often turns out to be a story that changes their economic fortunes.” The conversation, between Kai Ryssdal of “Marketplace” and The Atlantic’s Jim Fallows, notes that when people all buy into the same narrative, the town tends to succeed. Listen to the short podcast.

The Economic Narrative of America’s Future

Our downtown Elgin story revolves around the arts, both traditional (performing spaces, etc) and attracting types of businesses and people that support the arts. I think it’s a good story. But do enough of us buy into it? And if not, why not?


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