According to The Daily Beast, “the so-called creative class of intellects and artists was supposed to remake America’s cities and revive urban wastelands. Now the evidence is in – and the experiment appears to have failed.”
Not so, says Downtown Memphis Commission president Paul Morris. Here’s what he had to say about this to me:
“Memphis is best when we are being Memphis,” he said. “We don’t do well chasing trendy, overly simplified strategies advanced by national consultants who don’t know us. We should aim to be a magnet not a mirror, drawing people to us with our own authenticity rather than trying to reflect what we think people want.
We’ll never out-Austin Austin, or out-Charlotte Charlotte. But no one can replicate what we have in Memphis, and people from around the world love us for what we are. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be a much better version of our self, and seek to learn from others, but in the end we must be authentic. You’re never cool when you’re trying to be cool. And it’s never attractive when you’re trying to act like someone else. A large part of Memphis’s authenticity resides in Downtown. Downtown is where Memphis was born, and it still defines a large part of our identity to the world. That’s why we have to redevelop Downtown. If we don’t, we lose who we are.”