Silver Spring’s Private Downtown

A Silver Spring, MD resident was recently barred from taking photos downtown, the WP reports. Why? It’s been taken over by private developers, and it’s no longer a public space, thus no First Amendment rights. This is precisely what I have in mind when I warn people about developments like Albemarle Place. They’re trouble.  #

7 Responses to “Silver Spring’s Private Downtown”

  • That, and the fact that Silver Spring “downtown” is a seething cesspool of chain stores that was apparently conveniently built right over the poor part of town. I can’t stand the place.

  • Yeah, I’m not sure why anyone would want to take photos of Silver Spring, much less be there.

  • Marc Fisher continues to cover the story at his blog at the Post’s website. You probably know the blog, it’s quoted’s proprietor a couple of times…

  • Really? That’s cool. I had no idea. :) Or, I may have had an idea and then forgotten, which is just as likely. :)

  • Oooohhh, yeah, I remember now. :) His blog, Raw Fisher, has quoted me a few times, which I think is a result of his interviewing me for an American Journalism Review article about Virginia political blogging a couple of years ago. He’s a nice guy.

    Man, my memory sucks. I need to blog if for no other reason than to have a place to record things that I’m bound to forget.

  • One other odd situation that can be caused by the town center developments is the lack of local representation. From speaking with residents of Columbia Maryland, I’ve come to understand that the city is basically governed by a corporation. That means that if you have a dispute with a local policy, then you have no real way of addressing that through your local elected officials.

    It seems to me that any of these artifical towns, should come with provisions that create true public space owned by the public, and also provide for future elected representation when town or city status is merited. Otherwise, there’s a real risk of corporations really gaining frightening power over almost every aspect of our lives. Likewise, existing local governments must be vigilant not to give up too much power to these developments.

  • My family lived in Columbia when I was a kid, Lonnie — that’s precisely how it works. It’s very weird, very creepy.

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