“I love everything about Salem, but some things need to change.”
Do you like where you live?
We took this question to our membership in a “Coffee Conversation” format as part of the city-wide Imagine Salem initiative. When we address preservation issues at Historic Salem we try to start from the premise that the people who live in Salem love Salem like we do. This was proven in our conversations with members and the wider public.
Of course, as our 4th grade friend pointed out – as in most relationships, the one we love could do some things a bit better.
What would you change about your house, street or neighborhood? What would you keep? And what would you share, if you could? If a friend was moving into Salem would you want them to have a home like yours? Better? I’m sure you wouldn’t want them to have worse!
What places in Salem, and outside of Salem, would you replicate in other neighborhoods? What do you imagine could be part of Salem? If you search #ImagineSalem on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you can see what other people have to share and say about their vision for our community.
Conversations so far have been mostly positive and enlightening, but one question – that HSI has been discussing for years – did keep coming up: how can we make sure that rehabilitations and new development improve the overall look of the city and contribute to the current and future character that we value? This is a key question – especially when considered in the Imagine Salem context of inclusivity and equity. If we value the character, history, vibrancy and people in Salem then as we invite new residents to the city we must allow them the same quality of life we enjoy. Building more housing units is different than creating more neighborhoods.
To illustrate the value of diversity in Salem – often the responses about what one would change were contradictory from person to person. Some people wanted more single family houses and others wanted more studio apartments. Some wanted more places to park and other easier bike-ability. Luckily, a healthy urban environment can accommodate a variety of residents’ needs -- as long as they are known.
You can still take the survey and let the city know what you value: click here to take the survey
Emily Udy is the Preservation Project Manager at Historic Salem, Inc.