Main Street USA is a subject everyone seems to have an opinion on and I’m no different. My personal take on Main Street includes the neighborhood sections of bigger cities,such as Roslindale,Jamaica Plain and Mattapan in Boston, as well as the small towns of suburbia and exurbia as well as those places where community is based more on the county model.
It is generally accepted that Main Street no matter your definition is taking a beating. Of particular concern is the Main Streets of the smaller towns and those mash-up communities where there is less than 100K in the entire county. The economy is bypassing these places at levels reminiscent of the 1800’s days when the train bypassed your community and it became a ghost town. Where that may seem too dramatic it is undeniable that a self-perpetuating spiral of decline occurs when communities meet that breaking point of failing to attract and keep people and business.
There are a number of reasons for a dying Main Street both in body and mind as it were. I think the most important aspect of the topic is that we’re stuck in an old timers model of looking at our economy and country.
The nostalgia for small towns,tight-knit neighborhoods and rural living isn’t a bad thing until it blinds and binds us to decisions that have no positives. If this important part of our culture,economy and society is to be salvaged we’re going to need to think different.