Rick Cole, the city manager of coastal Ventura, Calif., writes a blog essay at New Geography comparing his current locale to Azusa, the San Gabriel foothills city where he used to be manager. (He's also the former mayor of Pasadena.) The topic is creating an authentic place, which in city manager speak is not an oxymoron. Sample:
What makes a place “authentic”? In places we cherish, we look for something unique and tangible. But personal experience of a place is not merely a product of the landscape and “built environment.” It is also shaped by myths and perceptions.
As City Manager of two California towns, I’ve grappled with the treacherous crosscurrents of reality and myth, of change and preservation.