Comment of the Week
Kansas City’s downtown renaissance was on display again with last night’s NBA preseason game. It came a week after KCPT-TV aired The Next American Dream, which our David Martin called “part history lesson, part infomercial” after watching the doc’s premiere.
Funded by the Greater Kansas City Area Development Council, Dream
paints a portrait of a city a bit more dynamic and progressive than it
really is. But by the end credits, even cynics of the way business gets
done in Kansas City will feel excited by what’s taken place over the
last five to 10 years.
Martin wasn’t the only one turning a critical eye to the doc. So did thePhantom*, who issued a lengthy but insightful review of his own in the comments section:
good thing about this documentary is that it might just raise the pride
of KC ( the ACTUAL CITY / DOWNTOWN). Perhaps those abroad will
recognize KC. Also, it showed before footage of KC in it’s heyday and
then to its blighted condition.
The bad thing about this documentary is that it was a ton of hype
and not enough substance of WHY Kansas City’s urban-core became a
ghosttown – essential for preventing it to happen in the future! It,
for the most part, just say’s people left the city…
This brings me to the UGLY: The Documentary damn near completely
ignores the reason why KC’s downtown and urban-core in general needed
to be revitalized: R-A-C-I-S-M. Something this town has been ignorance
since it’s essence. The almost cliche White Flight then BLACK flight!
NOW Gentrification. Now, don’t get me wrong the gentry are more than
welcome in the city – they bring jobs and love to spend money on
fostering culture (something the working class can’t do) – but lord if
this city turns into an inverted donut, where the poor/working class
gets pushed to the burbs, that’d be an ugly situation.
This city spends too much on infrastructure, simply because we’ve
spread out. We have enough geography for three Kansas Cities. We need
smart growth and an anti-node mindset. We need people in city hall who
know what the HELL they’re doing. GOOD urban planners.
The failure with Power & Light is that there was no housing
attached to the project! That’s a no no. Almost every major Development
project in Johnson County is developing mixed-use areas with HOUSING.
I am glad, however, that things are turning inward. We’re at a time
with the burbs have to compete with the “URBAN”. Urban is becoming cool
– simply because we want walkability and diversity. The new development
that was just allotted funding on 135th street in OP is an example of
this. But unfortunately, they’ll have to do a lot more — essentially
rebuild its city to be truly urbane.
Bottom line, this documentary was very VERY cute and endearing. They
interviewed the most typical guests and had a black man narrate the
thing meanwhile avoiding the reason the city looks like a friggin third
world country. We as a diverse city, must stand up and mold these guys
into properly representing where we stand and where we WANT to stand.
That’s our job.
That folks, is the Comment of the Week.