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What We Talk About When We Talk About Cities

On cities, sustainable placemaking, and the careful use of words.
relates to What We Talk About When We Talk About Cities
Kaid Benfield

I’ve been clean and sober for 20 months now and still counting. Lest you think that I am about to take you down a path of Too Much Information, please join me in lifting a beverage of choice to celebrate that it has been at least that long since I last used the word "vibrant" in my writing. I won’t speak for everyone, but for me the word had become so overused in expressing what smart growth and urban advocates seek in communities that it had become annoying at best, lazy and hackneyed at worst, stripped of fresh meaning by repetition. Enough already.

But it was also more than that: I’m not even sure that vibrancy is always a desired outcome. Merriam-Webster defines vibrant as