YP issues: Question #1: What’s wrong?

11.7.2007 by André Natta · → Leave a comment

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The first question that our respondents answered in our survey was one that ranked the issues that were most important to them facing the city and the region right now through the eyes of a young professional. The overwhelming issue was image, or the perception of an image problem. Though there was a much more diverse response from those that chose to write additional comments.

Check out some of these comments and then let us know if there’s anything you want to add to the conversation:

Some felt that no matter what was being said, that YPs were not being listened to:

Currently the city just doesn’t seem to ‘get it. Meaning that instead of listening to young professionals and what they want and creating the type atmosphere they want and pursuing sophisticated businesses geared towards young professionals, it is run by older men who simply chose to keep things ‘status quo’.

Some hinted at race relations being an underlying cause:

To only choose 3, i had to choose education over race relations but i consider institutionalized racism and issues regarding race relations to be an underlying problem related to all 3 choices.

Many of those that commented seemed focused on our city center and its progress (or lack thereof).

While some saw downtown as moving forward but not quite there yet,

I’m looking forward to Birmingham having a more thriving downtown at night. I know that will take time and that it’s getting better. It’s just that I’m a Birmingham native so I know that it’s taken a very long time for us to see the progress that we are making now and I’m anxious for the city to catch up with other metropolitan areas our size. I think the proposed entertainment district will help as will railroad reservation park.

Downtown has a long way to go. Lofts are far too expensive for single young professionals, there is currently no where to safely walk a dog after dark and no genuine bustle. Perhaps if lofts were cheaper, the city felt safer and there was an existing safe, green area for people to gather then downtown would prosper. Until then, I like my house and yard in Crestwood.

Others seemed to feel that the issue was that we didn’t have enough support for everything that’s already going on:

Not enough people here to be able to support all the events that go on. We need to attract other young creatives here!!

Perception (or reality?) that people get married at a young age here so there isn’t a very good singles crowd and there aren’t many attractive opportunities to meet other single professionals. Professionals my age (married or single) would rather live and work in a place like Atlanta where there is at least the perception of more going on after work and on the weekends.

Some seemed to think that part of the problem was due to our current leadership:

We have no plan to attract businesses, small and large, to downtown.

Lack of forward progressive and out of the box thinking by our city leaders.

Metropolitain government / intergovernmental cooperation / need for a professional metropolitain/county manager

Another spoke of the issue of trust and acceptance of “outsiders”:

I think there’s a fear and/or mistrust among Birmingham natives of so-called outsiders. That atmosphere makes it difiicult for newcomers to form lasting friendships and establish any kind of tie to the area. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but from my experience there seems to be some reluctance on the part of some Birminghamians to embrace those from other areas — especially further north than say, North Carolina.

What do you think?

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Filed under: Alabama · Birmingham · Regionwide · yp