Paul Shigley reflects on the impact of a Starbucks closing in downtown Redding, a small town in northern California.
"Last year, when we ranked downtown Redding the second most disappointing among mid-sized cities in California, some people in City Hall took it as a knock on their redevelopment efforts. Maybe it was, but downtown Redding's failure is far too complete for only the government to get the blame. Property owners and merchants deserve large shares, too.
Ultimate responsibility, though, lies with the community. Redding is a town where people rush to the newest franchise restaurant. Earlier this year, they lined up overnight for the opening of a Chipotle in a rebuilt strip center. Seriously. It's a town where Wal-Mart, Costco, Target and Home Depot have big boxes within walking distance of each other – although you'd take your life in your hands trying to make the trip on foot.
In other words, most people who live in Redding don't care about having a vibrant, walkable downtown full of local flavor. And no one – including an urban planning journalist who thinks he knows better – can make them care."