14 thoughts on “San Antonio? “Not anytime soon”

  1. Great article. I have a friend coming to San Antonio from Norway to attend my wedding in March. He grew up in Norway, did high school in Paris, studied economics in London and has lived in Argentina and Hong Kong. What does it all mean? These are all places that have excellent public transportation and where young professionals don’t need car. In fact, he is very proud of the fact that he has never driven a car and doesn’t know how to drive. My biggest worry now is how he is going to get around San Antonio and see all the cool sites. This city is just not designed for people like him.

  2. The exchange building sounds like a great place to live, right above the riverwalk, Cakery and Restaurant Gwendolyn. I am looking out for a nice apartment downtown but this article makes me wonder about how nice the apartments are in Germany.

  3. Jeremy and Heather’s comments reinforce my long held perception that the US will experience a “Europeanization” involving a collapse to the city core to realize the qualities of life to which the authors allude. I see this as likely being accompanied by the countertrend of reinvigoration of smaller towns by those who find the sprawling suburbs unappealing and prefer a less urban life.

    There is a quality of life in many European cities, such as The Hague, that involves far greater “involvement” with society than the typical American suburbanite experiences. With this lifestyle comes an emphasis on quality of experience and interaction that is sadly absent from much of America. Rather than having to “plan” ones day one can react and enjoy.

    Our American sprawl makes it difficult for suburbanites to appreciate the positives of an urban lifestyle (and even the early urban adapters) as lack of infrastructure, ease of movement, sidewalk cafes, and distributed shopping combine to dilute the experience.

    The ongoing projects in San Antonio are a good beginning but are disjoint and relatively small. What we really need is a big project akin to that in Hamburg that can truly, and in a dramatic manner, shift the landscape.

  4. Let’s not forget the important ingredient of improving our public schools. When I moved to San Antonio, I could not really consider living downtown because I had no intention of sending my kids to private schools. Many of these young professionals will eventually want to raise children. Let’s work toward making their local schools a positive feature of the urban environment.

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  9. This piece speaks to my life in a way that most people who haven’t lived these experiences cannot understand. First, thank you to the Rivard report for publishing it. Second, thanks to Jeremy Fields for his candor and honesty in this piece. It describes my experiences so remarkably that I am moved almost to tears. I know it was published a couple years back, but it is unbelievably relavent to my life.

    I spent 4.5 years Enlisted in the Army. Four of those years were spent living in Heidelberg. My son was born (to two American parents) in a German hospital. My dog was born (to two German dog parents) in a small German town. During my time in Heidelberg, I experienced Urban life in a way that I didn’t know existed (Having graduated from Churchill High School and living in suburbia). Walkability and mixed use are the norm in German cities. A quick morning trip to the bakery involved a 3 minute walk and a not-too-sweet fresh pastry, not a 15 minute drive and a sugar-laden headache inducing donut from a chain.

    I was hooked on living in a city built around the community instead living in a community built literally around the city. So hooked, in fact, that I returned to the United States, (and the University of Texas at Austin) to study Urban Geography and design. The trends toward urban renewal in San Antonio are good starts, as Fields states in his piece, however this city will continue, for the foreseeable future, to be built around the car as a main method of transportation. The city’s efforts to add light rail, street cars, or anything other than a truly unusable bus system have all faced such political backlash, that I would suspect the city will remain stuck without a multi-modal transportation system through the next few decades.

    I long to return to Germany. I long for the walkability of my German neighborhood. I long for the sense of community we had when we were connected into the places we lived rather than driving through the places we live. If I were provided the opportunity to move, I would do it in a heartbeat. For now, I’ll keep advocating for this city. There is only so much I can take, though. At some point I will decide that I must love where I live, and for me, San Antonio is not that place.

  10. I didn’t see this article when it was first published. My experience was Landstuhl. A 10 minute walk could get you 8 minutes into the forest or to anyone of two dozen restaurants, three grocery stores, lots of different shops, hundreds of homes, a train station, an old castle, a bike shop, city hall, the post office, and the places where a couple of different festivals were held each year.

    In general, Americans seem to have this negative impression of density, but those who get the opportunity to live it seem to all share this same sentiment. It would be great if you could get an update from Jeremy. His message may resonate as the city moves forward with comprehensive planning.

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