Better Places to Live

The interesting fact about this NY Times story about Beloit, Wisconsin, is not so much the content, but that it was the second most shared story on The NY Times website after dirty sponges.

There is a thirst out there for better, more human communities. And the Beloit story, like many before, tells it.

It is by now familiar. Down at the heels ex-industrial town reinvents itself by catering to the desires of its people – renovating old warehouses, moving the automobile over for bikes, embracing the river that flows through town and understanding the digital economy so people actually want to come live there. In short, moving to the future.

You see it everywhere. Every time a town does something cool – an outdoor dinner party, closing a street – something that involves building a human scale community – people respond and strongly. The common refrain is – “Why can’t we do this all the time?” The answer is that we can – if we have the political will to do so. City Councils – like the one in my small city of Montpelier – want to do the right thing. The burden is on us to do the proposing, to drive the agenda, and take back our streets for our community.

Diane Hendricks and her late husband saw opportunity in Beloit, a decaying industrial town. Now, she dreams of turning it into a mecca for start-ups.