No city wants to be compared to a compost heap, but it’s a fitting—and hopeful—metaphor for Las Vegas as it enters 2013. We’ve had a malodorous five-year experience as the core of a shriveled world economy, but something strange happened along the way: The seeds of Downtown culture—planted long before Tony Hsieh came along but fortified by his largesse—took root and green shoots appeared on Fremont Street and in Symphony Park. In the suburbs, low home prices—so often seen as the bane of the bust—allowed young families to become homeowners without the destructive hyper-financing of the boom years. Shattered foreclosed homes began to give way to renovation projects, communities stabilized after years of dizzying growth, neighbors emerged from garages to greet one another. Neighborhoods that had gone dark in 2009 were ablaze again with Christmas lights. So, here’s the news: We’ve had our downtime. Now is the moment to capitalize on this stability—purchased at such a steep and sad price—to ensure the Valley’s long-term health. The year’s discussion will be dominated by medicine, education, real estate and transportation. How will we respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the approach of Obamacare? Will we finally commit ourselves—with both structural reforms and improved funding—to educating our kids? Will we realize that UNLV can become the heart of a new knowledge economy in the Valley? Will we begin planting the roots of a true urban transportation system—not a replacement of our car culture, but an alternative to it? When development resumes, will we repeat the same mistakes of urban sprawl that paved over vast stretches of the Valley while destroying its economy? At Vegas Seven, we’ll be reporting and pondering all of these questions, sharing the best next-level thinking and, we hope, sparking conversation and creativity among our readers and neighbors. This is your city, and we’re thrilled to share in its revival.
– Greg Blake Miller