I want to share this because its paints a pretty clear picture of a problem: the hollowing out of parts of the country.
A lack of resources, a lack of industry, a lack of educational prospect. A population becoming invisible.
Right now, the framework for explaining this seems to be Black v. White — i.e. Black neighborhoods have experienced this kind of neglect far longer than white neighborhoods — therefore, etc etc.
I live on the fringes of West Chicago.
West Chicago is a neighborhood of neglect. And Pride. There are Huge empty buildings — burned out, abandoned store fronts. Between the vital downtown core and the Western Suburbs, there are the neighborhoods Trump loves to scream about — his “Inner City”.
On the corners of some blocks are signs that say “Welcome to the Western Block” — then a list of self-policing rules: No car-washing on the street, no loitering — neighborhood rules to cut down on neighborhood chaos. There are murals on buildings that say “STOP THE VIOLENCE” — there are crosses on corners where someone got killed. There are families on porches in the summer now — when 4 years ago, no one ventured onto their front porch. There is a woman selling Valentines Day Bears outside her house.
The neighborhood is black. But it’s also white and its also Latino. And there are still drugs and corner boys.
The only way to address these problems is for businesses to move back into these communities — to provide infrastructure — jobs — vitality.
A few years ago the company, METHOD, moved one of their production facilities to the old Cabrini Green neighborhood. They put a rooftop garden on the building (rooftop gardens will get you a tax break in Cook County) They hire from the neighborhood.
The reason I post this article is not to lib-shame or white-shame — or to say Liberals Lost because of … it’s to say this:
The only way to address these problems is to do what METHOD did.
The only way to address these problems is for businesses to move back into these communities — to provide infrastructure — jobs — vitality. And the only way a business is going to do that is if there is incentive.
An Unsustainable Entity
Manufacturing in this country is an unsustainable entity.
It is a groaning and brittle machine that needs to be re-made. We cannot compete with China or India or Viet Nam in terms of price per good. We in fact need those facilities for their location to certain resources.
Changing what manufacturing is in this country means defining vital industries — it means building out the infrastructure in areas where larger-scale facilities can move to. It means capitalizing on the biggest export the US has had to offer in the last 20 years — innovation.
Innovation in this sense is changing the rules of consumerism and changing the rules of direct contact with consumers. It’s also changing how things are made. Smaller batches. More custom work. Enhancing the consumers experience and enhancing their experience with your product.
It is about using technology and real interaction to create something valuable and sustainable.
I didn’t intend to write about Trump, or politics, when I set out in a car to travel 100,000 miles around the US. I was writing about…
MEDIUM.COM|BY CHRIS ARNADE
— Ben Trissel
Ben is the Founder of Sidgl, 4th generation craftsman and designer that believes in thoughtful design, sustainable manufacturing and functional beauty. Sidgl makes handcrafted bags that are designed to look good, feel good and above all function well.
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- The Big Book of Sustainable (What Does Sustainable Mean) - February 11, 2017
- Painting In The Wild With My Plein Air Portable Art Studio (30 Days In Italy) - August 30, 2016
- Towards a More Sustainable Company. - June 13, 2016