Duluth a progressive city?

I was having a conversation with a young friend of mine today and I said Duluth is not a progressive city. But you have to look at what you have said. So I retract that and will clarify.

At the forefront of Duluth doing what I would call progressive thinking is the organic farm movement. There are good urban gardeners and also friends of ours that moved out into the country who are now raising and selling their produce. And we have an up-and-coming arts and music scene. Beyond that it slips away.

The question would be: What is a progressive city? Obviously something is lacking for me. I’d like to see a kick the jams hit on making Duluth sustainable. And what does that mean? The first thing to do when there is a big task is do the first thing right. And because I think this town lags in any sort of alternative energy program. This is a purely symbolic gesture with some overtures of functionality.

Let’s put a fund together, I pledge 50 dollars and we research and get the best solar with windturbine street light and put it on Lake and Superior. You make that intersection run under it’s own power and I’ll take off my hat to ya.

What would that do? If you could make it work it would prove you could do it. It would give a visible indication of what you could do. What is hardcore sustainability? Air, water, food. What is citywide sustainability? Much bigger deal, but it would make a progressive community.

14 Comments

mevdev

about 12 years ago

The city needs to have a plan to reduce the car usage in the city. The bus system is as good as it will ever be while still on car-laden city streets. Streetcars once moved the masses of Duluth, we should get them back again.

Farmers markets need to be the norm of produce buying. The co-op should have a market during the off days of other markets. West Duluth badly needs one, and the one in West End is already starting up. Local people need local economies.

Superior street needs to be a pedestrian-only area with an express mode of transport to the edges of our city. 


The st. louis river bay needs to be more than just a dredged out pond. Methodical fish farming and estuaries would help increase the population of all living creatures in our lake and give a local edge to our food.

We need a way for everyone to experience the splendor of our shore without having to drive it with a car. A start would be a weekend express Superior Hiking Trail bus that would take travelers up and down the shore at their leisure. It could travel up and down twice a day to pick up weary travelers and bring them back to the city.

doubledutch

about 12 years ago

Aside from the arts and music scene, everything else here relates to ecological sustainability.  You asked an important question (What is a progressive city?) and I think it makes sense to try to answer that before writing Duluth off as "not it."  Not that I have an answer - but I do think it encompasses a lot more than the environment.

Also, Public policy takes a while to catch up with what individuals and small groups are doing.  But just because the official "City of Duluth" isn't as progressive as you'd like, that doesn't mean the community isn't progressive.  And I suppose the trickiest thing is, "being progressive" sort of implies that there never comes a day when we look around and say, "This is good enough - let's stop and keep everything exactly like it is."  You can look back and see how far you've come, but you also see how much work is left to be done.  So then someone can always say Duluth isn't progressive because we haven't done ____ yet.

Frank Nichols

about 12 years ago

That's why I had to stop and look at my statement. Because I would like to see more does not  mean we're not.

dbrewing

about 12 years ago

Maybe switching to a none corporate owned beer might be a start.

Frank Nichols

about 12 years ago

Yes, but haven't found one I like. Tried, still trying.

Jude

about 12 years ago

It seems funny to me, in the midst of thousands of tourists, runners, etc. here for Grandma's Marathon this weekend that there is not one single post on saying welcome, good luck, thanks for visiting our great city.  I am new to PDD but this just seems, well, kinda non-progressive to me.  We can learn a lot from our visitors if we give them a chance.  So, Welcome, Marathon guests, thanks for visiting our great city!

Vladimir Vlasic

about 12 years ago

Maybe that is why the population has dropped so drastically over the years.

Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

Duluth has lost about 400 people per year over the past 50 years. I wouldn't call that drastic.

Frank Nichols

about 12 years ago

What would an ideal progressive city have that would make it such?

Vladimir Vlasic

about 12 years ago

You are correct, Paul when you put it in that context. But, look at 1960 to 1990, a steady decline, that is 30 years of decreasing jobs etc. Those are the years when many left to never return as the city was sinking kinda quick.

Vladimir Vlasic

about 12 years ago

Paul Lundgren wrote:

"Duluth has lost about 400 people per year over the past 50 years. I wouldn't call that drastic."

From 1960 to 1990, Duluth lost 21,391 residents. That doesn't look as good as your 50 year average. I'm not nitpicking, just stating facts. I remember that era, high school graduates were leaving in droves. U.S. Steel closed as did other industries that once drove Duluth. But, it happened elsewhere too.

Frank Nichols

about 12 years ago

I'm thinking it's not that way now.

Jude

about 12 years ago

Where in the world are you going to get a job here except for Menards/ Home Depot or a food place?  This is nearly an impossible job market for any age.  TEMPORARY Jobs for master's degrees are being advertised for $20 an hour and that means weekend and flexible work time---impossible for a single mother or dad. .  $20 per hour x 40 hrs a week (if you are fortunate) x 52 weeks per year (if you are VERY lucky) still adds up to only $41,600 a year, max.  And of course a temporary job means you are not going to count on benefits or any of the other perks a person needs like time off for sick kids, etc.   

As much as I love Duluth and both my kids would love to live here, neither one of them would even consider it because they would take a 50% cut in pay and benefits (even if they could get a job, which is pretty slim).  Duluth is NOT a place people consider unless they are from here and they know who they know to get a decent job or they have family who can help out with child care, etc.  

This is why our numbers are declining.

Terry G.

about 12 years ago

Jude - I beg to differ on jobs. My wife and I moved here from the Twin Cities after we were both offered jobs at the University. The Med Centers also hire many professionals. I know numerous others who have moved here from elsewhere because we love the place - especially the recreation.

Is Duluth progressive? I think it is but there is little extra money to implement the great ideas to take it up a notch.

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