Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mixed Primary Use Redux

Continuing my walk from a from a previous post, I find myself on 12th Ave. in Capitol Hill. In retrospect, I should have snapped a photo of the Seattle Trading Post but I was heading for the locksmith below as my reference point.

It may not be glamorous but who says commerce, especially in the service industry, is supposed to be? I'm quickly reminded of Brooklyn Storefronts, a collection of photographs that shows many of the eclectic small businesses throughout the borough. Moving on, almost directly across the street is Good Services Plumbing and Heating. which I would have patronized a few months back in lieu of Roto-Rooter -- even though they did a fine job on a slow bathtub drain -- had I been aware of its existence.

From home maintenance to recreation and transportation, 12th Ave. has you covered. Take 12th Ave Bicycles, located in the lower level of an apartment building at the intersection of Howell.

Moving to mental sustenance, and another example of a small business mingling with residences, one can find the relocated Twice Sold Tales a few blocks west of Broadway on Denny.

These examples make me glow with hope for the city and neighborhood; they are examples of Jane Jacobs' much lauded diversity seeping into unused corners (especially the latter two) and Michel de Certau's "getting by." In the last few weeks, I've traveled to both Denver and North Texas (Denton is my hometown) and have gained an even greater appreciation for Seattle's plentiful independent business.

An important tie that binds these businesses to the type of housing I'm proposing we construct is mentioned throughout this site and is, of course, the use value. These shops are not relying on the glitz and glamor of PR, marketing or slogans ( "newer, better, different"). They are simply what they are, small businesses.

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