Tuesday, March 05, 2019

civic centers, state flags, baseball and [familiarity]

i used to feel people just liked historic things.  being an architect and dealing with historic boards in two different states led me to this opinion.

i realize now i was wrong.

one of the benefits of moving to a new city is you really have two homes and you gain just a little extra perspective with those two viewpoints.

in my hometown of wichita, the city is debating whether or not they should tear down an iconic mid century civic center known as century 2, that many feel is historic.  in my new home state of maine, there’s a debate raging on whether or not the state should revert back to an older state flag.

the maine flag debate really has me interested.  the flag they want to become the new official state flag, is actually older than the current one.  thinking people liked historic items better, this seemed like a natural choice.  it was older; therefore it’s better and people would love it and think we should go back to it.  however reading the comments in the local newspaper, i’m surprised at how many people were against it.  whether or not it’s a better design doesn’t really matter, people don’t know it. they’re not [familiar] with it. it doesn’t matter it’s more historic than the current flag; it’s not the flag they, or their grandparents grew up with.

back to wichita. why don’t people want to tear down the civic center?  it’s because they are [familiar] with it. they grew up looking at that large and looming light blue dome in the skyline for past 50 years.  it’s what they grew up with. it’s what they know.  would wichitans want to go back to the old forum that century 2 replaced? probably not, because they’re [unfamiliar] with it! very few people alive today can even remember what it looked like. 

turning back to the northeast, i think about the large citgo sign near fenway park that has become a landmark in the city.  in a different world where fenway park did not have the citgo sign there and someone today proposed putting a two sided, 60 foot, lit up sign promoting an oil company that would be seen over the green monster, people would be outraged! why? because they would be [unfamiliar] with it.  it’s not what they’re used to.  however since it’s been around since the 40’s people grew up with it, are [familiar] with it and love it.

familiarity is something to be cherished but it’s also something to be questioned.  it’s a great feeling to know everything in your life is exactly the way it should be, but some of the best times of my life we’re when i ventured into scary and [unfamiliar] territory, like my first awkward make out session, heading to college, getting married and trying oysters for the first time.

everything in our life we’re [familiar] with now, was at one point [unfamiliar].

cherish the [familiar], embrace the [unfamiliar]

and yes i do believe they should be called [familiarity] boards and not “historic” boards.

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