Don’t be fooled by the news out of Detroit: cities are cool again. One of the big takeaways from the 2010 census was that, after a century-long love affair with suburban subdivisions, affluent Americans are jumping back on the (worldwide) urbanizing bandwagon. For a new generation of hipsters, yuppies and retirees, city living is not only aesthetically and culturally preferable. It is an essential piece of a progressive lifestyle. This sensibility springs from a degree of historical consciousness.
As I write this, the kitchen table is shaking. If our table is shaking, I worry that the church’s beautiful stained-glass windows, desperately in need of repair, are also shaking. The parsonage is attached to the church and shares the same foundation. Seven feet away all hell is breaking loose. Several blocks of businesses that have served this neighborhood are being knocked down by giant backhoes and inflated real estate prices to make way for towering apartments.