Apparently people want me to still run this blog even though I’m not technically an architecture student anymore. Kinda crazy. I didn’t realize I had an actual following on this little virtual venture. Its flattering.
I’m missing architecture quite a bit. When I go into the city, I miss it. I just want to climb around in the high rises and explore the alleys. I still see things in section and plan, analyze joints and connections, notice textures and materials…architecture kinda broke me. I learned so much; so much that I can use later on in my probable landscape career. Every now and then I go into Atlanta and revisit the places I had become comfortable with, places that are visually and culturally stimulating.
I went into Atlanta yesterday with a friend of mine from out of state who hadn’t really been around in Atlanta on foot. We went to Little Five Points. I figured if we were going to go anywhere, it might as well be there. I love it there. Its beautiful, full of a culture that most of Atlanta shuns or is intimidated by. Plenty of local shops, alternative living and people. People go there to shop, loiter, eat, drink, play. Its a generally safe area to spend a few hours shopping for your second-hand tweed jacket, grab a bite to eat and a PBR before going to see a hipster rock show so you can buy a band tee shirt (because you know, got to show that you heard of them first). Avoid the heroin addicts, listen to a man recite his poetry. Little Fives smells like incense. Jane Jacobs has a concept about “eyes of the street”, that applies directly to anyone’s observation of Little Fives. There are plenty of shops at street level, with people in and out of them constantly, on both sides of Euclid and Moreland Avenues. The way Little Fives was designed nurtured a safety net into it’s culture. Plenty of people in an area makes people more comfortable, and more comfortable with spending their money there. This community is the only one of its kinda in Atlanta–and its dying.
I was so disappointed…and sad that my friend didn’t get to see the Little Fives I loved. The shops were only half-stocked and prices had gone up. No one was playing in the sidewalks like usual. Shops were closed up with ‘for rent’ signs. The Junkman’s Daughter will be leaving us. Even the homeless and addicts were bored. It was easily the most depressing thing I’d seen in sometime. It seemed like the only places pulling any revenue was The Vortex (which didn’t have a line outside, now that I think about it…) and the Variety Playhouse. Why is Little Fives falling apart? It has everything it needs to thrive. It has the specialty shops that Atlanta doesn’t cater to; it is its own niche for commerce. There are spaces for the informal and weird that isn’t found anywhere else in the city. Is the culture itself dying? Are people choosing to no longer live alternatively? Do people prefer going to Peachtree or Piedmont? The Undergound? Where are the people?! …perhaps its just the economy. Maybe society can no longer afford to buy local or maybe this next generation doesn’t appreciate the beauty of Little Fives. Oh no…let’s pray Little Fives doesn’t become the next Undergound–just a sad, sad touristy shell of a community.