Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Downtown Kalamazoo

I thought that, overall, the downtown Kalamazoo area was pretty attractive. It had very nice sidewalks and some nice generators--the bars, the park, restaurants, and some of the stores. However, the area was somewhat dirty, and this could be unattractive. The beggars that were heckling the shoppers was another turn off. There are a lot of benches and trees which, according to Gibbs, distracts shoppers.

One recommendation for the downtown would be to clean up the streets, sidewalks, and back alleys. They were all pretty dirty and unappealing. The next thing I would do would be to get the beggars off the sidewalks by adding more security, this would make this a safer place for shoppers and would take away the discomfort of beggars. Finally, I would add some more appealing stores to the downtown area, maybe some more high end stores with big names that would attract a more sophisticated crowd of shoppers.

"The shade trees and planter boxes? Lovely, he says, but they block shoppers' view of shop windows and signs. Those handsome groupings of benches and tables? They seem inviting until Gibbs points out that they often attract teenagers and other loiterers, who scare off shoppers. The elegant Victorian streetlamps, the expensive trash cans, and the distinctive granite paving stones--"so beautiful that people will stare at them as they walk by the storefronts," Gibbs says--are little more than money down the drain. Their costs must be amortized over many years, but long before they have been paid off (and before the town can afford to replace them) they will be old-fashioned, marking the entire street as out of date and out of step."

This had great relevance to downtown Kalamazoo. It had a lot of, according to Gibbs, unnecessary benches, tables, and trees that ultimately distract shoppers and attract other kinds of people such as teenagers which scares shoppers away. The sidewalks are very interesting, and Gibbs will point out that people will stare at them as they pass a store. The downtown area looks very appealing and expensive, which means that the entire street will soon be out of date and Kalamazoo will not be able to afford to renovate it.

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