In my City Talk column today — With recovery taking hold, what’s next for downtown Savannah? — I broadly ponder some of the big questions that the Historic District will have to grapple with now that the economy seems to have taken a favorable turn.

I’ll be talking in more detail about some key issues on Tuesday evening at the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s April meeting. From the event page of the DNA website:

Columnist Bill Dawers speaks on Creativity in Savannah on April 3rd

For our spring General Membership Meeting, at the Savannah Visitor’s Center History Museum at 6:00 PM on April 3, 2012, we have invited popular Savannah Morning News columnist Bill Dawers to speak to us about Savannah’s potential as a center for creativity and innovation on the southeast coast.

Will Savannah’s appreciation for history and preservation help propel our region ahead in today’s tech-centric age? Can our beautiful historic environment attract dynamic young people with creative energy? SCAD’s success says, “Yes!”

There is a synergy between preservation and creativity which DNA hopes to foster. In the process, we also hope to attract more young leaders to keep DNA vital as Savannah evolves. We look forward to provocative and challenging ideas on how to do all this from Bill Dawers.

If you are not a member of DNA, you are welcome to join on the spot and participate in our social hour before the meeting (snacks and two free drinks for DNA Members.)

I applaud the DNA for framing these issues so precisely.

When we think of preservation and residential concerns in historic districts generally, there are inevitably connotations of NIMBYism and of residents who oppose innovations in a kind of reactionary way (Jane Jacobs called these people “squelchers”). So it’s good to see the DNA specifically embracing words like “youth” and “dynamism”.

I don’t know if my talk will break any ground I haven’t covered in my columns, but I hope that I can distill some key ideas and frame some of our key advantages and challenges.

One Response to What’s next for downtown? Savannah as an increasingly important hub of creativity

  1. The downtown corridor is rightly a concern…especially as the big chains move in. Seemingly, they are the only ones that can afford the high square footage prices and rents. However, McDonalds has proven over and over (when pressed against the wall) that it will build really attractive buildings and interiors. One such case is in Leesburg, VA.
    Savannah has to be willing to ask these chains to promote and exemplify the architectural standards of the Historic District, whether modern or traditional. But we have to ask them to do so. The newly minted SCAD museum is an excellent international example of what can be done in that regard.