November 9, 2010

People in the future matter

Library of Congress Photo, 1939

A friend pointed out to me this photo set from Flickr of color photos from Chicago in the 1930s and 1940s. I always think of those decades as black and white, since nearly all movies and photos from that era are black and white.

But they weren't. The railyard this guy worked on 70 years ago was in color, just like the office I work in is. The railway tracks he helped to maintain are still here.

It is easy to assume that our neighborhoods and our city exist for us, or maybe our children. But the buildings we build and the choices we make last for generations. 

Matt Yglesias, one of my favorite political writers, writes today about how people resist change in their neighborhoods: opposing tall buildings, new apartments, parks or churches. We are always biased toward keeping things the way they are. Thank goodness we don't always succeed.