Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tom Hanchett is a smart fellow in The Times

In this morning's New York Times, John T. Edge explores the ethnic food diversity of the suburbs of Indianapolis with the help of Dr. Tom Hanchett of Charlotte's Levine Museum of the New South.

Hanchett rode along with Edge during the reporting and supplied insight on why suburbs can be just as exciting and diverse as urban areas:

Hanchett, writes Edge, "coined the useful term 'salad bar suburbs' in 2008 to describe post-World War II suburbs, where 'newcomer and native-born intermingle without ethnic boundaries.'"

There's a lot more, but the gist is that what is really interesting in cities isn't what's going on in the downtowns, it's what's going on in the outer rings, where empty malls and abandoned big-box sites become mixtures of new populations and entrepreneurs.

It's smart reading to start your Thursday morning. As Hanchett says in the story, "The grownups don't usually know this is going on. . .. When they don't see a Chinatown, they see nothing."


DWright1 said...

Oh, Mary Newsom is not going to like this.

Mary Newsom said...

DWright1: I beg to differ. I think Tom Hanchett is a wonderful addition to Charlotte, and his notion of "salad bowl" suburbs is a great description of what's happening.

Read the Times article. I know Hanchett is a huge supporter of downtowns and finds them quite interesting. But in terms of Charlotte and new immigrants' restaurants, he knows entrepreneurs go where they can find affordable retail spaces. In Charlotte those spaces tend to be in older, non-trendy strip shopping centers.

DWright1 said...

Thank you, Mary. My comment was slightly tongue-in-cheek and I never expected a response. I was certainly not referring to Mr. Hanchett. I don't know him but certainly respect his postion. Especially after his "grownups" quote. In fact, I thought he made a lot of sense.