Tag Archive for development

Fredericksburg’s Small-town Fetish and Economic Inequality

Looks like something out of Norman Rockwell, doesn't it?

Looks like something out of Norman Rockwell, doesn’t it?

The city of Fredericksburg has 28,000 people and is the fastest growing municipality in the state of Virginia, and it is the hub of a region has over 300,000 people, which is also the fastest growing the state.  Nevertheless, many of the city’s residents, especially its downtown residents, insist on thinking of it as a small town.  Residents of the old part of the city might possibly be forgiven for mistaking it for a small town; it was a small town for most of its history, and the built environment and residential distribution of the downtown reflect that history.  Fredericksburg can often feel like a small town, even if the diminutive old city is really the hub of a large and growing region.  The scale of the buildings and the patterns of land usage are village-like, and the relatively minuscule downtown population (compared to the whole area) and its relative isolation from the newer regions of sprawl beyond the interstate make the social experience of downtown Fredericksburg feel decidedly intimate in a small-town way.  I get that the “small town character” of Fredericksburg is a large part of its appeal, but the overzealous commitment of downtown’s residents to preserving that “small town character” contributes significantly to Fredericksburg’s extreme income inequality. Read more

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