There may be a continuing great opportunity for Duluth found in the whole range of arts, beauty, and nature with which we surround ourselves. Examples include our open spaces, plant materials, return of early native vegetation, and existing natural amenities. It is in a concentration of these qualities with our understanding, protection, and appreciation of each.
I believe these have the potential to become major positive influences and draws for people who will continue to build Duluth’s population and identity.
This is not meant to huff or puff at a project or two. Rather, needed is a serious long-range comprehensive commitment to identifying opportunities and finding ways to expand the good and desirable to a point where people discover Duluth and then decide to invest, protect, and build here, recognizing the positive local attitudes, beauty, and life quality. It will eventually be useful to determine a local entity to guide and encourage these goals and these kinds of values.
I am guessing most new citizens to Duluth, and their outlooks, will be environmentally inclined. They may be protectionists who will not permit destructive development, waste, or thoughtlessness. Each action will be directed toward the achievement of permanent benefits for all.
Many people today are aware of overgrown cities and their threatening physical and environmental deterioration. Many people avoid these conditions. People need to create something far better than what exists in so many locations, something desirable to draw them and others to recognize and appreciate living and working in a place that’s better. Many want to become part of places like this.
So, Duluth can consider injecting every block and every development with the realities of green growth, open spaces, and a continuity of materials and patterns. This can become so desired here and ingrained that people will not really define why they like the result; they just will. The citizenry, eventually, may demand nothing less, nothing average, and nothing negatively imposing, including on adjacent lands or environments.
This could be a design, planning, and implementation opportunity. Its basis could be the unique environmental relationship of land and water: our Duluth and our Lake Superior.
With many cities having bulging populations, overdevelopment, increased crime, pollution, climate change, and increased human tensions, some places will be needed to rise above, with great and desirable living environments — to attract healthy, strong, and forward-seeking citizens.
This could be Duluth.
Some say, “Why?” I say, “Why not?”
Kent G. Worley of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was a landscape architect in Duluth from 1967 through 2007.