Friday, October 2, 2009

The "New" Downtown

The revitalization of aging downtown areas is a challenge facing cities nationwide.  Las Vegas is no exception, and the city (lead by mob-lawyer-turned-celebrity-mayor Oscar Goodman) has long attempted to attract residents, visitors, and businesses to the older parts of town.  For most visitors, a weekend trip to Las Vegas usually means a visit to the high-rise hotels and casinos along the southern portion of Las Vegas Boulevard.  But if you head a few miles north on Las Vegas Boulevard, you come to what the locals call "Downtown" Las Vegas.  Downtown, likely best identified by the Fremont Street Experience, has attempted to market itself as the hip, urban alternative to generic sprawl and corporate entertainment elsewhere in the valley.  Instead of flocking to downtown, however, it seems that area hipsters are more attracted to a new development, Town Square.  Depending on how you look at it, Town Square is either a sterile shopping center or a trendy shopping and entertainment district.  What it clearly does not include, however, is residential living as this humorous story illustrates.  While some people value the eclectic, organic heterogeneity of true downtown living, it is clear that there remains a market for more planned, ordered heterogeneity.

Ngai Pindell

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