When I set up residence in the downtown district of Raleigh, NC ten years ago, it was virtually a ghost-town.The Nine-Fivers consisted mostly of state-workers who headed back to their cozy suburbs before dusk. Venturing into downtown after dark, was an open invitation to be mugged, or worse. I stuck it out because I loved living in the “historic” district. My pepper spray was always at the ready.
A lot of growth and revitalization has emerged over the past ten years, and the once abandoned downtown is thriving again. But at what cost? History is dying for the sake of new boxy high-rise condos. Craftsmanship has gone the way of the Dodo bird.
As I pondered this, I walked through my portion of the city today, and truly took note of it’s character…what remains of it’s character. The most interesting buildings have been left to wither in the shadows of the monolithic new construction that towers over them.
Just ten years ago, this bar was our “Cheers”, but the owners couldn’t compete with the influx of new businesses, and increasing rent.
Traces of historical beauty can still be spotted, but I can’t help but wonder when they’ll be replaced with trendy, homogenized designs.
I am stunned by the intricate detail that used to exist in architecture, and was relieved that some of it still remains in my ever-growing, little big city.
It’s not all new in my town. There are some investors, and business owners who are working hard to restore the old works of art. They just can’t compete against the big dogs with bottomless pockets, who can construct a generic eyesore, seemingly overnight.
I know that most things are cyclical. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be able to laugh at the asshole hipsters, who are currently walking around in acid washed jeans. I never thought I’d see those make a comeback.
I just hope that the “trend” of thoughtful and passionate design cycles back in my lifetime.