Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gulch Dweller Warns that a Boutique-Dominated Enclave is No Substitute for a Healthy City Neighborhood

Jonathan Belcher, a veteran of Gulch living and blogger at "Imagine Title Here," examines a recent NY Times feature on his southwest Downtown neighborhood and offers these pearls of wisdom, which could apply to any urban neighborhood:
I moved to The Gulch a little over four years ago excited at one day living in a thriving urban neighborhood. To be honest, I don't care about the hipster or singles scene. And I fear that The Gulch will end up as a sort of soulless scenester urban area and not the urban neighborhood that it has the potential to become.

That's why I'm glad to see some critical discussion happening on what The Gulch could be versus what it is and isn't today. There is no doubt--The Gulch (and other local infant urban areas) offers not only some exciting possibilities but indeed some exciting realities. Where there was once urban decay there are rehabbed and new buildings, retail, dining and increasingly, people.

But there has to be more than trendy chains like Urban Outfitters and scenester joints like the late Bar 23. Right now you can have dinner, get drunk and look good doing it in the Gulch. And if you are wealthy (for the most part), you can go upstairs and sleep it off in your 600-700 s.f. Gulch condo, too. But what if you want to walk to the local bookstore and then to the grocery on your way home? One day I think that will be possible. But the question remains--will anyone but rich people be able to afford to do those things in The Gulch . . . or anywhere in urban Nashville? And what happens when those people want to have kids?
The Gulch, like Salemtown, needs a lot of DEWKS to go with its common DINKS and SINKS, because neighborhoods without that generational diversity are short-term fads rather than long-term communities.

UPDATE: Congrats to JB for winning the Nashville Scene's "You Are So Nashville If" contest.


  1. You know, I've lived in this place over 60years and I have yet to even drive through the gulch since it became the happening place.

  2. Hey Mike, thx for the congrats and the linkage. I'm computerless right now, so I've been trying to keep up with things when I get a chance at work (and with my blackberry), so I'm kinda behind.