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The Trenton Solution

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Cities have been around for thousands of years. Waset, Egypt, once called Luxor or Thebes, has been continuously inhabited for 5500 years. Some ancient cities are dust, their populations moved on to, well, another city. Presently, there are eleven cities that have over 10 million inhabitants. The top two are Shanghai, which is nearing 18 million, and Istanbul, where there are over 13 million people. There are 45 cites with populations of 5 million or more, and 85 with over 3 million.

It is obvious, to me, that human beings like their lives to be lived in cities.

In the 21st century, more people live in cites than in the countryside. This is especially true of modern nations with the technology to support individuals who don’t grow their own food. Growing food is time consuming, and, in the age before the industrial revolution, back breaking. The wealthy of history paid others to grow their food for them. Now, most of us do. In our yards, very few of us have any vegetation that is eatable. Plants are for show, ornamenting or providing shade.

We’ve come a long way.

Since folks love cities, it is important to keep them running well. Many cities, however, are failing as they are heavily in debt and some face bankruptcy. Let’s state the obvious; in debt cities are not run well.

I have a home in a city that is in financial trouble. As yet, the City of Trenton is not declaring bankruptcy. Nonetheless, its citizens could face that awful prospect. We can look at the financial disaster, ad nauseam. That won’t help us if we don’t address the larger problem. Attitude. There are too many citizens in Trenton that have a failure to engage. Indeed, like many rotting municipalities, Trenton is losing its inhabitants as people vote with their feet.

Can we get those people back into this city? No. Can we save this city by engaging its unengaged? No. We cannot, nor should we, save a city with so many disinterested inhabitants. Therefore, to change Trenton, we must import a different type of citizen, one that takes an active interest in their surroundings.

Where to begin? We know we need a new mayor. Still, a mayor can do only so much. I suggest that we need a branding solution to go along with the political one. We the people need to engage in marketing this city to the outside world. To accomplish that, let’s ask and answer these two questions: What is right with this city? How do we get folks to come here to live?

To get us started, I’ve made a list of 9 items stating “what is right” with why Trenton is a good place to live.

  1. We know what realtors tell us about “location, location, location.” Let’s look at our location. Trenton is: 

    a. only 28 miles form Philadelphia, connected by freeway and train transportation. Think Trenton as bedroom city for Philadelphia and other places in Pennsylvania. See item 3 for the reasons why this idea is solid.
    b. NYC is 66 miles, or 90 minutes away on the train. Though a longer commute, with exorbitant rents in NYC and in Northern New Jersey, living in Trenton to commute north can make dollar sense.

  2. Trenton is a small city. There are approximately 86 thousand individuals here. Traffic jams? What’s a traffic jam?

  3. For those with a fondness for historical architecture and old buildings that can be turned into captivating living spaces, this place is the place. The stock is abundant, waiting only for someone’s imagination to touch it. For what a body pays for a large closet in NYC, one can have a large home in Trenton. 

  4. Trenton’s got history. The city is 335 years old. No, not as old as Thebes, but for the USA, that’s getting up there. The founder’s house, Trent House (1710), is still there. So is the Old Barracks plus places where Washington won battles. One can find the history of capitalism here as well. The folks who built the Brooklyn Bridge lived and worked in Trenton.

  5. Trenton has art. There’s a museum plus there is Artworks. Its yearly “Art All Night” draws in thousands of individuals. Artworks has programs running all of the time. For the starving artist, Trenton has reasonable spaces to live/work. Artists! Stop spending your money on overpriced spaces in NYC or Los Angeles. Come here instead, and put your money into your art, not a wealthy landlord’s pockets.

  6. Trenton has art, part 2. Singers, dancers, musicians, actors, storytellers, and so forth, make Trenton your home. Everything you need is here. As with the reasons in item 5, money saved on rent can be put into recordings. Exit 7 A is a very well priced recording studio, audio and video. I repeat. Put money into creating art, not an overpriced living space.

  7. Trenton has culture. Meaning, there are folks here willing to put their time, efforts and money into things like a philharmonic orchestra, a museum, theater arts, etc..

  8. The mix of people in this town will never bore you. Indeed, this town is peopled by individuals who march to the beat of their own drum. I see this as the biggest difference between Los Angeles, my family home, and Trenton, my spirit home. In L.A., too many people try too hard to be edgy. In Trenton, they just are.

  9. Trenton is full of opportunity. All you anarcho-capitalists, here’s your laboratory. I dare you to take on this town.

In conclusion, Trenton is a good thing. However, once thousands of others discover it you can kiss those low prices on mansions goodbye. And then say hello to traffic jams. Yes, success will bring on its own set of issues. So bring them on.Image

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Written by lcrockett

January 15, 2014 at 7:18 pm