Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Category

Duluth, GA

Monday, March 1st, 2010

I often find myself missing a place that I had always wanted to move away from. The place I wanted so badly out of seems comforting when I’m in New York City because of the easy familiarity that comes with a place that you’ve spent nearly six years in. Sometimes, change takes you by surprise and it always takes awhile to adjust to your new environment.

Duluth, Georgia is small yet a pretty large area. Over the few years, the city has undergone change for the better and for the worse. Many of my friends have grown up in Duluth their entire lives and have gone from elementary school to high school graduation with the same people. An area known as downtown Duluth still keeps the ‘old-fashioned’ image from the authentic streets to the style of the storefronts. Around that area, there are many independent shops and eateries and also a Town Green with a fountain and areas to just hang out near the stores. Every year, the town holds an annual Fall Festival the last weekend in September with a parade and booths full of various different events that brings the whole town together.

Most neighborhoods have townhomes or apartments grouped together with a name for the cluster of homes. The big neighborhoods are well-known and usually if questioned about where you live, people give the name of their neighborhood. Some areas are obviously are pricier than others and there are a few country club-type neighborhoods around and can indicate wealth status for a person. This is similar to the sections of New York City. Each section of New York City has a name to the area such as the Upper East Side or the Lower East Side. Those areas each indicate something to someone else because each section of New York City is different and can also indicate something about a person from where they live.

Duluth and nearly everywhere in Georgia is a car dependent culture. You can get your license at 16 which are convenient since if you want to go anywhere, you have to drive. It is impossible to get anywhere without cars though, there is never anywhere to actually go except the movies or the mall when you are a teenager. Occasionally, you do see someone walking but it’s rare. The sidewalks make it impossible to even attempt walking because a sidewalk will pop up and disappear at irregular intervals throughout. This is a bad design in part to the city planners because what is a person supposed to do if the sidewalks stop? Then, he or she is stuck walking on a very narrow space inside the painted white line that separates the car from the pedestrians since the sidewalk has become long grass or some other circumstance where the person is no longer able to walk in or through. Public transportation is not a real option because in order to get to the closest train (Marta) stop from Duluth, you would have to drive at least 30 minutes down to another town known as Doraville to get on it. To make it worse, the stops are limited to only the downtown area. No one really uses the bus either because most people do have access to cars. This is a problem because I do not particularly like driving and I’m sure people don’t always want to be stuck with their car to get to any destination. The car culture of Georgia leads to why New York is a good location. A car is rarely needed to get anywhere because the sidewalks do not randomly end. New York City has more options of getting around to wherever you need to go. You have the option of using the subway or bus and the method of simply walking to your destination. Duluth, Georgia is definitely far from New York City. They both have different things to offer yet, have a few similarities between the two cities.

Sent by Ellis from Duluth, GA