Marks of a likable, livable, laudable city

Cogitation 25 Saturday 23 June 2018   What makes a city likable, livable, laudable?

Certainly, common factors include a sense of home, safety, opportunity, community pride, and heritage. The overall picture includes jobs, schools, health care, quality of life matters that include recreation, entertainment, food security, and social fabric that promotes diversity, choice, freedom, community, and wider engagement with the region and world.

Defined even further, such a city provides for walkability and bikeability, along with safe , traffic-calming streets.

One area, though, that may not get as much attention involves urban forestry. From tree-lined streets to clusters of human-free forested and river areas, where wildlife can thrive in an urban context, that’s my dream of a notable city.

I’m selecting photographs I took this week around the City of Elkhart to illustrate my thoughts on what makes a city likeable, livable, and laudable.

Likable: Wildlife

Heron waiting for its breakfast at the Johnson Street Dam.
A rabbit seemingly playing “chase me if you can,” before bounding away.
A chipmunk busy with breakfast.
A squirrel intent on cracking a walnut for breakfast.
A swan preening for the day.
Ants putting in a day’s work before pausing for a “coffee break.”
Mayflies are signs that waterways are healthy.


Livable: Beauty

Central Park, Around the World Garden.
Painting in a downtown Art in the Alley Project.

Sunrise shielded behind a gray sky on one of our early morning walks, designed to avoid the heat of the day.


Laudable: Remembering 

Last Saturday Prairie Street Mennonite Church extended arms of love in commending Jay Kauffman to eternal rest. Jay, a former railroad conductor, also received Naval and Masonic honors at the graveside service. Beyond local areas, places from where family and friends came included Florida, North Carolina, and Vietnam.
The Elkhart Jazz Festival this weekend features local and world-renowned individual and group musicians.
This painting in the downtown alley for me captures a slice of the city where I have lived for 49 years.


Thank you

I end with a word of gratitude for those who have gone before in building a residential, manufacturing, entrepreneurial, educational, commercial, health and other services, artistic, historic- and civic-minded, recreational, diverse, safety-net, and spiritual-choice community for individuals, families and groups. Gratitude, too, for those charged with carrying the torch on behalf of all and everything, including wildlife and trees, today and tomorrow.


3 thoughts on “Marks of a likable, livable, laudable city

  1. Thank you John for once again showing us all the beauty all around in small and ordinary places. What a gift you are to me from the past and now in the present.

    Peace. Stanley K.


  2. I just returned from a walk with Milou and we can relate with similar pictures on our walks. Nature abounds, especially after a nice rain today. Didn’t see a swan but many different birds were chirping and flying about.


  3. And where does time go most people ask frequently. Lived in Elkhart 49 years? I can hardly believe it, where does time go?


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