City Beautiful: Improving appearance worked in Chicago
Hartford Courant Editorial
September 19, 2010
The Hartford city council's new program to recruit volunteers to help maintain the city's street medians is a sound idea that we hope will lead to more measures to beautify the city. Improving the physical appearance of the city is great for morale and development. Consider Chicago.
When Mayor Richard M. Daley took office in 1989, Chicago was in decline, another Rust Belt city losing industry and population.
But Chicago avoided the fates of Cleveland and Detroit and grew under Mr. Daley. One of his strategies was to pay serious attention to the beauty, appearance — the physical attractiveness of the city. He cleaned and planted the medians, built great parks, encouraged public art and planted trees, about 600,000 of them.
He also understood that green initiatives would be good for the city's economy. Chicago has 7 million feet of planted roofs, more than any city in America, and hundreds of miles of bike paths, which promote clean air and healthy living.
Although Chicago is not without other problems — some level of corruption and financial mismanagement seems endemic —beautification has helped make it a destination for tourists and residents.
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra took a first step this summer with a program to clean the parks. Manicuring the medians is a logical next step. We urge Mr. Segarra and the council to continue down this path.
In the late 19th century, Hartford native Frederick Law Olmsted recommended that the city's parks be connected by lovely parkways. Dare we dream?
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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