Now that I’ve lived half of my life in Raleigh I’ve been thinking more about how Raleigh grows. There seem to be two fundamental camps, one that welcomes innovation and the trying of new things, and the other that is very cautious about new things.
I’ve always been the kind who prefers when people play by the rules. But what if the rules aren’t really necessary? What if the rules make a situation worse?
My wife and I recently spent a delightful weekend alone in the City of Savannah. Savannah has long recognized the value of tourism (being a sea town. Duh.) and allows people to carry their open containers of alcohol anywhere they please. Savannah apparently does not have restrictions on outdoor seating at restaurants. Now, I was only there for one weekend but it seemed to me that chaos had not broken out. No souls were apparently lost. In fact, people seemed to be getting along just fine. On the other hand, Savannah does have strict laws against panhandling, which seemed to be respected. Overall, though, Savannah seems pretty laissez-faire about rules and restrictions and it looks like it works for them.
I couldn’t help but think of Raleigh while we walked the streets of Savannah, and how “loosening the reins” and seeing what happens doesn’t really come naturally to Raleigh. It’s like we have to be against something before we can be for it. This does not help to spur the innovation that we need to attract and grow world-changing businesses here. We are more reactive rather than proactive.
I imagine what Raleigh could accomplish if, rather than asking “why?”, instead asking “why not?”