North Main St vision
I am absolutely sure that my vision of NMS does not completely coincide with yours. No two visions are identical. But I am sure we can all benefit from reading a spicy variety of visions. I offer mine.
The context for me is that what will create a vibrant prosperous NMS is not business as usual. Not business as usual for the last 40 years, not business as usual in the current phase of urban redevelopment in 2011. Maybe this is why I am a consultant, researcher, and advocate running NGOs and think tanks rather than a retail establishment.
Where I differ most from the mainstream is that I am not at all sure that the American economy is capable of growth in the 21st Century. The world has changed. Resource extraction becomes ever more difficult, and with that change all the real growth in the American economy for the last 30 years has been sucked up by the rich, the medical industrial complex, the fossil fuel industries, and the war machine.
In other words the numbers are clear that for all but the favored few the American economy is already smaller, they have less money. If you can not actually increase through put (essentially infrastructure and ecosystem rebuilding) then all growth is in funny money. With the collapse of global forests and fisheries, soil degradation, the continued diminishment of mineral resources, and climate change, prosperity in the future will be determined by how well we provision ourselves and build resilience to climate change.
What that means for NMS is that it might work much better as an agricultural corridor than a raggedy business district. If we could farm the vacant strip (by deed) along NMS in the North Burial Ground, AND farm all the run down properties along NMS, with the exception of those we turn into high density housing along the new super bus line/trolley serving all those people and those who start leaving cars at home. Agriculture would bring retail. Community gardens and small farms selling produce will bring people saving money and improving their nutrition and health. With more of their diminishing money to spend on other things. Maybe we partner with Camp St Community Ministries and Mt Hope NA on the food and nutrition components.
We would of course increase recycling and composting massively, providing new resources for farming and industry.
Walking would be enhanced by better NMS crossings for pedestrians, trolley stops could become true nodes with a little jazzing up and communications infrastructure. With pushcart vendors?
More trees, but if we have to take out the median strip for a trolley line, so be it. Maybe trees that produce something for the community like walnuts.
Somehow predictably what happens by the NBG and its facing street scape seems to be the key for me.
Friends of the Moshassuck