Cleveland Uber Alles

Untimely Dispatches from the Neighborhood of the Unrepresented & Inarticulate; Anecdotes that Pedal and Coast Through the Boot-Print of 20th Century American Urbanism

Monday, December 26, 2005

Proposed Topics/Projects for Cleveland Uber Alles in 2006 Here are a few ideas I am thinking about pursing via this blog as the new year approaches: 1) An index of anecdotal economic indicators, to be compiled in conjunction with the this site's small readership. Anecdotal economic indicators, I suppose, would consist of things of potential economic import that are observed and commented on, rather than quantified. An example of this would be a report that "a number of for sale signs have appeared in front of houses in the E. 40's, between Superior and Payne. But obvious ones like these are only the beginning. Consider: in my daily travels throughout our Metro area, I notice a significant number of couples that are made up of young women and older men, with girls, really, of, say, 21-25, pairing themselves with men well over 30, or even in their late 40's, 50's, and so on. Obviously, I haven't quantified the number of these couples I've observed, but, anecdotally speaking, I seem to be seeing a lot of them. Well, one way to explain the prevalence of couples like these is through the lens of Psychology: since women mature faster than men, they are more likely to require a more mature partner. Another way to explain these, too, is through an examination of my own biases as an observer (I myself am in my 30's and I am often at places frequented by those in my demographic; therefore, I'm more likely to see more of these pairings than, say, a first year student living in a dorm at John Carroll or whoever). Yet another explanation for prevalence of these couples may be economic: since our region is currently "stingy" with opportunities for younger men to make a good living, and since these young men, furthermore, are being cut out of educational opportunities and other advancement tracks in greater and greater numbers, they are less and less able to compete with older men for interest of women within their own age group. Simply put, "Sara Recent College Grad is more likely to go out with Billy Over-30 Corporate Job than Bobby 21-year-old, since Bobby 21-year-old didn't go to college with her, as of yet still lives at home with his mom, and can't get a job of his own that pays more than eight dollars per hour. So, what I'd like to do, is collect observations like these, and have them argued over, contradicted and corroborated. Ultimately, Cleveland Uber Alles would be home of "anecdotal economic indicators for Cleveland," and the site could feature a sort of index that casually measures all sorts of things about our city's economic prospects--not only the number of young women with older men, but also the number of homeless on Euclid Ave., the size of crowds at hotel bars where visiting business travels ought to go, and so on, and so on. The idea, of course, would be to use these casually observations as a springboard to encourage real economic thinkers in area to do real research. Meanwhile, we can get a good conversation going about how the casual things we see in our everyday lives inform us about our economic prospects and hopes of improving life in Cleveland. 2) A collaborative, virtual map of Cleveland, collecting not only these "anecdotal indicators," but also stories of life here to raise our awareness of both problems on the street and those odd miracles, too, that make life here interesting, like tags from SYM or that shrine at the side of Chester Ave., with its now rain-soaked and salt stained teddy bear, marking where someone either crashed their car or got shot. This "interactive" Google Maps-driven collection of NY Times reader stories regarding the NYC transit strike approximates the kind of map I am hoping to see here on site. Comments on these ideas are welcome and encouraged.

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