Today an article ran on The Atlantic’s website that really got me thinking.
What is the single most important element to urban planning and sustainable city growth?
In The Atlantic’s article, Edward T. McMahon claims that the character is key to an economically vibrant city. This is true from the architecture all the way to the general culture of a place. Tuscaloosa is primarily unique because it is a place that has grown out of being a college town. But don’t think for a second that Tuscaloosa is just some two stop light town with an adjacent college campus. So what are some specific examples that point to Tuscaloosa being a vibrant, unique city?
1. Food: There are few places that have as unique a food culture as Tuscaloosa. Whether you’re in the mood for southern barbecue (Archibalds, Dreamland, Moes, among others), Japanese Hibachi (Bento, Kobe, the soon returning Hokkaido), or Asian Fusion (Tacogi), there is something in Tuscaloosa that will fulfill any craving. Looking for fine dining? Evangelines, Chuck’s, and 5 are all ready and willing to serve high end fare.
2. Art: Whether it’s seeing some up and coming independent band at a bar on The Strip or going to the Ampitheater for a sold out show, there’s no shortage of entertainment in Tuscaloosa. Each year the Kentuck Art Festival showcases some of the best regional folk art in the South. The Druid City Art Festival just had it’s second annual showing and was a major success. The University of Alabama is a hub for art students from not only around the state, but from the region and the entire country.
3. Architecture: Take a leisurely stroll on campus and you’ll quickly realize that the University of Alabama is one of the most beautiful college campuses and settings in America (but I’m a biased alum!). The Antebellum architecture really is gorgeous. The University has also done a great job in terms of making the aesthetics on campus as pleasing as possible, they are truly committed to stewarding a wonderful legacy for future UA students. But the architecture isn’t limited to on campus. Downtown Tuscaloosa is rife with interesting buildings, historic and modern. All of which have their own unique stories.
“Keep Austin Weird” is the rallying cry for folks from that part of Texas. And it’s a nice slogan that has served their city well. Most people have heard it before and it certainly embodies the culture of that burgeoning town. But Tuscaloosa is different. Certainly no one can claim that Tuscaloosa isn’t “weird”, but there’s more to her than that. Tuscaloosa is timeless.
“Keep Tuscaloosa Timeless”.
Yeah, that fits well.