Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

“I have a dream.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Though mine is not quite as profound and world changing as Dr. King’s, I too have a dream. When I close my eyes I can imagine a remarkable transformation in our community.

I envision… neighborhoods vibrantly pulsating all day and all night. Blocks brimming with activity, from office workers during the day and urban dwellers of residential condominiums at night. Parks to walk our pets, benches to chat with neighbors, trees to read books under, and nooks to sip a fine glass of wine.

Imagine neighborhood centers made up of green gathering places specifically created to serve the community. Main streets steeped with rich visual treats where one can stroll past a plethora of shops stocked with items to make everyday living easy and enjoyable, as well as items that make those special occasions even more memorable.

A blend of charming shops filled with distinctive furniture and home extras, exceptional tableware and kitchen accessories, remarkable linens and towels, and a diverse assortment of unique tchotchkes. Even markets where we can find tasty treats and delicacies from the far corners of the earth.

Mixed within all this would be little pockets of quaint, cozy bistros, charming cafés and eateries all nestled together. Tables and chairs spilling out onto distinctive tree-lined sidewalks, filled with people reading national and international papers in the morning, or grabbing a mid-day bite, or a light supper. A place to catch one’s breath and reconnect with why we call this our home; a place where neighbors greet neighbors and friends enjoy friends.

My imagination seems endless as I sit at my desk daydreaming. Wouldn’t it be lovely to create a small town feel with an urban buzz? Isn’t a small town more about the feel than the actual size? Isn’t it about physically and mentally investing in the community?

I muse...Does it seem like I gleam when I dream?

At least I’m not alone in my dreams for our community; other neighbors also gleam when they share their dreams.

Charlotte Morrisette (El Cortez) dreams of shopping in an organic coop and walking to a Whole Foods Market. On her stroll she would wander through a little surprise park with a peaceful fountain surrounded by benches for taking a break.

Patty Waugh (Horizons) imagines all necessities within walking distance, a veterinarian to look after their beloved Romena, family-friendly restaurants, and possibly an urban multi-story discount store.

Jeanie Ballard (Union Square) envisions cultural salons where people can listen to public readings, sing, show art, take classes; supper clubs with ballroom dancing, a swirl of stimulating and engaging street-level activity.

Catt White (Lusso Lofts) sees clusters of housing forming tiny communities of all ages within downtown; density making the community a family.
We have the opportunity to create something no other city can replicate, an urban world-class city made up of inclusive small neighborhoods, where neighbors know neighbors by name. - February 2005

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