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December 24, 2006


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Ben Arnold

Hi Dan, Yes, Saratoga is a wonderful place, but all the aesthetic pleasantries of the City come at a cost. You might be suprised to know that Saratoga has been following a meticulous script in crafting its unique character. While not advertised as such, Saratoga has been continuing a process of "urban renewal" well past the time when such policies were considered beneficial. The keystone of this policy is the overwheming concentration on economic development and so called environmental "stewardship". These concerns comprise two-thirds of the "planning triangle".....The third point of the triangle encompasses a group of social concerns. The divergent interests of the planning triangle create a circumstance where support of one priority will cause harm to the others. In Saratoga's case, 40+ years of economic development plus 20+ years of "open space" activism, have virtually eliminated meaningful opportunities for affordable housing and a diverse resident population. And it all looks real nice on the surface strolling down Broadway. The elusive middle ground is a wonderful place, but most people in Saratoga will not support the middle ground....which (in terms of housing) usually involves rather ordinary "cookie cutter" developments which are cheaper to build and cheaper to buy. Of course, the effects of these policies are not restricted to Saratoga Springs......

Thanks for furthering the conversation. Merry Christmas!


Well thanks for the insight Ben, and Merry Christmas to you also. I guess I'm in my honeymoon phase of living in Saratoga - everything is new and wonderful at this point. I'm hoping reality takes...oh about 10 more years to set in. Unfortunately, I won't be able to help myself, and at some point I'll be showing up at City Council meetings and paying closer attention. Then I'll really be furthering the conversation.


Like yourself, I'm a transplant to the area and brought an extreme skepticism about living here, somthing that was largely bore out of youth. But since that time, I've grown an immense appreciation for what this city has to offer, especially after leaving the region and country for spells. No, it's no where near perfect, yet in comparisson to other cities in the upstate region(and in the U.S.), it's not that bad.

My complaints about this area focus largely on the largely homogenous population and the tendancy of that population to sweep problems under the carpet to put on a pristine veneer for rich tourists. I used to gripe fairly loudly about these things, but have sense tempered my vitriol having come to the conclusion that this is a pretty darn nice place to live --provided you can afford it.


I realize that you are a transplant as I am also... but along the way I learned the proper names for communities. I do agree with you that Saratoga is a wonderful community - rural with wonderful farms. However the community is not what you describe - what you describe is the neighboring community Saratoga Springs. I do have one wish for the new year, and that is that you and others might learn geography and the proper place name for the community that you describe is Saratoga Spring not Saratoga. Today Saratoga is the country next to the city and Saratoga Springs is the city next to the country.

Have a happy new year.


First of all, thank you for commenting. I do partly agree with you, but only partly, and the answer is much more complicated than that.

I'm not sure if when you mention "country" you had a typo and meant the County of Saratoga, or meant what I would call the countryside surrounding the city of Saratoga Springs. Actually the municipalities directly bordering Saratoga Springs include the towns of Malta, Wilton, Milton, Saratoga, and Greenfield, and the Village of Ballston Spa, and maybe one or two others I'm missing. These cities, towns, and villages all lie within and overlap parts of Saratoga County. Therefore most of the land surrounding Saratoga Springs is not technically Saratoga (except the aforementioned town of Saratoga) but the actual the specific town or village name that I just mentioned. Of course, it gets more confusing when you throw in mailing addresses b/c the U.S. Post Office has their own system which sometimes ignores municipal boundaries and names.

Nonetheless, both the book I read and the class I took on blogging (and other new media including podcasting) emphasized using your own voice and being informal and conversational, rather than soundling like corporate speak. Now when I refer to my hometown, which you correctly identify as Saratoga Springs, I rarely use the full name, choosing instead to refer to it as simply "Saratoga". I might invite a friend up from Albany by saying "Hey why don't you take a ride up to Saratoga and we'll grab dinner?" Again, it's informal and conversational, and my friend knows that I mean Saratoga Springs. Therefore I speak exactly that way in my blog. My book on Blogging states"
"Your blog should showcase the real you. That could mean writing in sentence fragments, stream-of consciousness rhapsodies, polished prose, verse, chatspeak, or whatever writing style you'd use in an email to your best friend."

Likewise, in the excellent course I took on blogging and podcasting(I plan on posting an entry on it someday soon), the instructor stated that a blog writing style should be "informal with an emphasis on an authentic and conversational voice."

So, although while using my informal and conversational style I will continue to sometimes interchange "Saratoga" and "Saratoga Springs", your point is well taken with respect to this particular posting. In this posting I was specifically referring to the neighborhoods and business district of the city of Saratoga Springs as it related to suburban and urban issues, so I should have been more precise in my terminology. Thank you again for the comment.

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