Making San José a safe, affordable, and fiscally sustainable city with strong economic growth are worthwhile objectives. But these objectives are not all that different from the aims of any other modern city in world. As the seat of the Silicon Valley, San José should be in a position to set itself apart from other cities that are safe, affordable, and fiscally sustainable.
The secret ingredient that can make this happen; that extra ten percent that can turn San José from a modern city into a world-class metropolis is not something that the City Council can conjure. The very thing that will make San José a thriving city is its people.
Despite the skyline we erect and the economic investments we make, it will ultimately be the residents of San José who will create the organic culture that will make San José unique. How close knit our neighborhoods are; the level of civic pride we have in our cities; whether downtown comes alive at night on nights the Sharks don’t play… will depend entirely on whether the people of San José feel comfortable enough to live not just within their homes, but within their communities.
The City should encourage strong community ties by making it easier for groups to organize community activities, by creating more public spaces, and by fostering a culture that encourages the arts. When visitors feel drawn to return and when residents feel content to stay and establish roots, we will know that we have succeeded.