Christine Slocum

Metrics for City Living

Economic Vigor As Measured By Conversational Rhetoric (0-5):

0: People don't talk about your town because it no longer exists
1: Your city is full of “opportunity” because there's so many vacant houses and buildings
2: Your city’s most prized industry is obsolete, but reverently referred to
3: Civic leaders and marketers declare a "renaissance” in your city when a couple yoga studios and coffee shops open up in the part of town rich people find undesirable 
4: No one talks about revitalization because a defense contractor is the main industry, and fuck, we're always at war. Your city is rich.
5: Your city is synonymous with success, despite mind the homelessness and poverty


City-wide existential dread as measured by Public Art (0-5):

0: Public art is exclusively heritage statues with smiling faces
1: Public art is in the form of colorful murals glossing over/ignoring the colorful parts of the history
2: Public art are all abstract black sculptures
3: Public art is cute and prominently featured on the waterfront as a tourist trap but is actually about death
4: Public art is most prominent under bridges as a tourist trap and includes a piece called “Wall of Death”
5: The city has no public art


Intimacy with Neighbors as Measured by Access Granted to Interior of My Home (0-5):

0: I am a figment of your internet world and you only know I live in the City 
1: You have a sense of the neighborhood I'm in
2: You know my address and dispute it’s in the neighborhood I claim to live in
3: You drank a beer on my porch that I provided to you
4: You've been inside my house and I cleaned it before you arrived
5: You've been inside my house and I did not clean it before you arrived


Intimacy with Neighbors as Measured by Access Granted to Home (0-5):

0: We didn’t know you lived there
1: We have stood at the edge of our driveways discussing trivialities
2: I stepped into your living room to drop off outgrown children’s clothes
3. I drank a beer in your backyard or on your porch
4. I have seen all rooms but the bedroom, even though you initially told me this attic is an "office"
5. The entire interior of your home, have rifled through your apartment's cabinets looking for soap; you either gave me your keys or left the house unlocked so I could let myself in to do feed cats, snuggle cats, or leave pesto in the basement refrigerator

Christine Slocum is an applied sociologist specializing in anti-poverty policies, particularly homelessness. She lives in the city of Buffalo with her spouse, two kids, and two cats. You can find her talking about the bird's eye view - both social structures and actual birds - on Twitter as @ChristineLSloc.