When I opened my book last week, I was definitely not expecting to read something pertaining to the small area in which I moreover grew up in. I was raised in Georgia, then spent six and a half years in Bilbao, Spain, and since 4th grade have lived in Westchester County, NY (Yonkers is in Westchester County, and I was surprised to be reading about it in our book!). I have to admit it, Spain is beautiful, and thinking about the way the cities there were planned and designed makes me realize it was physically extremely different from cities here in the US.

The area of Bilbao that I frequented was very comfortable and not extremely busy. There were not a lot of large, high volume roads, there were apartment complexes, small homes, and mom and pop stores throughout the city (not to mention the endless amount of delicious and irresistible bakeries and candy stores my parents had to constantly pull me out of). There was lots of parks and open green space as well. However, Bilbao in general has experienced heavy industrialization, making in the second-most industrialized region of Spain (behind Barcelona). This caused an increase in population, and today Bilbao is a thriving service city that is experiencing continuous social, economic, and aesthetic revitalizations, prompted by the iconic Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. This evolution has also continued through various infrastructure investments, such as the airport terminal, the rapid transit system, and the tram line, all which I’ve experienced during my time there.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

Reading up on Bilbao and discovering its service city classification, I was intrigued to find out exactly what a service city was. We had recently defined an edge city as one that, for example, “has more jobs than bedrooms”. The general and most basic definition for a service city is one that focuses on the production of services instead of end products.Anyways, from there my mother, sister, and I moved to Eastchester, NY into my grandmothers old Victorian style home. Eastchester is right next to Scarsdale, a village where the people posses incredible amounts of wealth. Eastchester is pretty well off too, and just by looking at most of the homes in both towns you can see this to be true.

Your average home in Scarsdale, NY. (Jay-Z and Beyonce have a home in Scarsdale for example…)

Eastchester resides in Westchester County, just as Yonkers does, and again I was SO surprised to be reading about it last week. Going back to the housing topic, my town is for the most part homes, and for the most part middle aged, married white men and women. Besides homes theres also a handful of apartment complexs, businesses, restaurant, shopping, and main roads running throughout our town. Its not 100% homes, but a very good and appropriate mix of the things I just listed. It seems to me that Eastchester is centered around the main road that cuts straight through our town, Route 22/White Plains Road. Two lanes each way, stores and homes at varying stretches of it.

Mix of homes and commercial space on Route22/White Plains Rd. in Eastchester, NY

Mix of homes and commercial space on Route22/White Plains Rd. in Eastchester, NY

I would like to assume that Eastchester has developed and evolved socially and economically largely in part due to this main road running right through the town itself. Was it planned that way? Not sure, because the road was built decades ago, but indeed it had to have been a huge factor of the towns evolution. Route 22 (the portion of it that I see most often) has been, still is, and will continue to be a vital roadway that will influence the economy of Westchester for years to come.