Local Commentary

The Little City Weed

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Oh. Oh. I love this game. This is the one where everyone gets to vision what they want to build in the city and then we all twaddle around until we have exhausted city staff, trashed the reputations of public officials, irritated our neighbors and/or spent all the public monies.

 

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Oh. Oh. I love this game. This is the one where everyone gets to vision what they want to build in the city and then we all twaddle around until we have exhausted city staff, trashed the reputations of public officials, irritated our neighbors and/or spent all the public monies.

Everyone gets to play. No special expertise required. Not familiar with the comprehensive or strategic plans? Not a problem. Forget I mentioned it. Can you not name two people on city council, have no idea who the city manager is, or what the planning commission does? It is really not important. Worried about zoning? Why? Nobody else is.

Extra credit if your visionary idea has to be built on privately held land, abuts an established neighborhood, includes a skyscraper, is mostly publically financed, has a residential component, and/or crosses jurisdictional boundaries. Also, bonus points if your idea looks cool, takes up a lot of land, but has no actual revenue associated with it. Double demerits for every new child your plan would bring to the city. Points off if you plan on housing poor people. Old folks are still okay (preferably the feeble ones with no cars who just wander around the neighborhood smiling and waving – they are soooo cute and atmospheric).

I am in. Here are my top five entries:

1. A Chunnel. Right under Broad Street. This basically would be a way for folks to get from Arlington to Tysons Corner without them bothering me.

2. A Floating Scottish Moor. A few years ago some nutter got elected to council blathering about a village square, kilts and bagpipers at dawn. The vision still captures the imagination, but I have come to believe the only practical way to make it happen is to make it a floating sky feature.

3. Astroturf Park Avenue. The poor people on that street have been through so much. Artificial turf on the street would be more “park-ish,” marching in city parades would be easier on folks, and the fake grass would add that mysterious sense of there-there-great-place.

4. A Giant Glass Pyramid. Right by the bowling alley. There is no real public purpose for this, other than to make the owners of the bowling alley site nervous about our emerging local avant garde architecture and to create mystic that we possess the Holy Grail. Think religious tourism baby.

5. A Great Sauron Eye. Right out of “Lord of the Rings.” Mostly it would watch Fairfax County … those folks want our precious water system. But it would also protect the shire from threats to its sense of village. Did somebody whisper school funding is out of control? Whoooomp! We see you hiding there you little hobbit. Move local elections from the spring where all three of our good friends vote to the fall where everyone votes? Whoooomp! Do not make us send the dark lords after you.

This game is so cool. I cannot believe it has been weeks since we last played it.

 


Michael Gardner is a quixotic citizen and founder of the Blueweeds community blog.