Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back in Delaware, again...

this time, working for one of the other big credit card banks located in downtown Wilmington. The usual concerns about security aside, the difference in workplace atmosphere between this bank and the one where I worked at the beginning of this year is like night and day.

There's also some change in the appearance of Wilmington in the intervening months. The Christina riverfront now sports rows of townhouses on its south bank, with a high-rise apartment tower nearing completion right next to them. Construction cranes loom over the heart of downtown as ads in the train station tout the first speculative office building to be built in the city since the 1970s.

A co-worker described all this activity as an attempt to emulate Philadelphia . And right now, downtown Philadelphia is a place worth emulating. New residents continue to flock to the city center, and new apartments, condos and townhouses continue to rise to meet them. Even the most negative Philadelphians cannot help but comment on the city's new energy and liveliness. Dowdy old Philadelphia has suddenly become hip and happening, and it feels good.

It is this last quality that Wilmington is still unable to emulate, and it looks highly unlikely that it ever will. Delaware may be a great place to work and a pleasant place to live, but its first city still has a ways to go before it matches its bigger sister up the road.

1 comment:

Paul Westhelle said...

Agreed. Time and the quality of physical planning will ultimately define the character of Wilmington. For all the construction that's underway here, it sometimes seems as though the urban design accumen is lacking on these projects. Pedestrian accommodation, comfort and convenience are not being taken as seriously as they should be by local designers.