The Soul of the City

Hosting the Superbowl was an amazing event. Six months out I feel a kind of a hangover, like, I want that city here all the time, not just for guests, not just for a wonderful week. One of the great virtues of Hoosier people is hospitality, certainly a soulful virtue if there ever was one. The soulfulness of this city hosting the world for a week was amazing. So much was poured out for our guests that there there is nothing left for us, the residents of this city.  We used up everything to do it. No wonder we are in a drought, so profound the outpouring was.

I am very idealistic about this city, and I am beginning to understand that Indianapolis is at least two cities, maybe more. I think of Indianapolis as the old city, pre-consolidated government, the old city limits. Downtown is the high city, the place of monuments and civic institutions, and the surrounding suburbs are the low city, the dialog of this place being the uncomfortable paradox that location and soulful meaning are not congruent.

Transit creates location, the old trolley lines replaced by wider and wider roads, slower and slower buses, soulful aged buildings removed for parking or roads or the very fear of history. Indianapolis is a bicameral city, a new home in the burbs, but the meaning and context exists in another place, empty of people. The Lady is alone too much, and she might develop a complex about it.

Since transit creates location, better transit is a means to the end of a crowded vital pedestrian city, a soulful location where we stop fearing our fellow citizens but choose to embrace them. We need an opportunity to pour out hospitality on our neighbors that we do no know, on reconciliation with estranged friends and family. Indianapolis is a foursquare city, a river runs through it, a white tower-throne looks down on all. This city has a unique opportunity to live up to the sacred purpose that all cities have, to mirror the holy city.

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