How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Portlandia? This particular item comes from Long Island, but you can hear it in this town just as loudly:
Advocate: Let’s keep our young people from leaving! There’s a … brain drain!
Public: How do we stop it?
Developer: Build denser housing! Let’s make it … affordable! Walkable! Let’s make it … mixed-use sustainable smart growth … with a downtown, pedestrian-friendly feel.
Municipality: Development approved!
Seriously. You could sell the idea of an abattoir in Bricktown if you promise to make it “mixed-use.”
The inspiration for all this flapdoodle, apparently, turns out to be the Underpants Gnomes:
Phase 1: Create a cool city.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Retain talent.
That will be $500,000.
Don’t get me wrong. I like busy street scenes and weird little shops and, yes, bike lanes. But the idea that the creation of busy street scenes and weird little shops and bike lanes will make Joe Average, Jr. shout “Huzzah! I don’t have to leave this crappy little burg after all!” is risible in the extreme, even if you trot out that half-million-dollar research study showing potential diminished crappiness.