Here's a letter in today's Chronicle:
For a really great thing to do with the Astrodome, why not turn it into a mixed-use small city with residential space that's inspiring and inspired?
By that I mean efficient, smart and modest enough so that ordinary folks can live close to downtown and make good use of the light rail that is nearby.
This is a perfect opportunity to locate a dense population center close to rail and the other amenities that a community needs, such as jobs, medical care, cultural venues and educational facilities. This could be a hub for bus transit to other locations throughout the city, too.
We'd need to tear up large portions of the parking lot and design and build a park for walking and for outdoor events; plus fix a section for community garden plots so that residents could grow their own vegetables and flowers. Adding shops, restaurants and a cultural venue for lectures, recitals and small concerts would make it a fabulous community center.
Colleges and universities could plan a space for enrichment programs they could run for both adults and young people.
The entire thing could be organized to give the residents a stake in their own community.
The revitalization of downtown and Midtown are exciting, but the living spaces are too expensive, development not dense enough and there are not enough open spaces to make such density attractive. We need spaces for students, the elderly, working families, single parents and young marrieds so that those who are too young, too old or too poor to maintain and drive automobiles can enjoy their lives and make a go of it.
We should be having a continuing dialogue in our community on the best way to organize communities.
The Eighth Wonder of the World could show just how modern and essential she could be — we just need to have the vision.
Gosh, this sounds really swell. Let's just make sure all that organizing and envisioning doesn't involve a single penny of taxpayer money, okay?