Could Honolulu have a “signature” image of itself coming out of the COVID saga? Depending on how you see this image of the proposed pedestrian bridge over the Ala Wai Canal, connecting Mō‘ili‘ili to Waikīkī, it could very well be.
A signature piece, like I am describing here, is not a new concept. Many cities market themselves based on a signature item, such as a bridge or a skyline. New York City has done very well in marketing the skyline. If you close your eyes, you could probably make out that skyline now, whether you have been there or not.
Another place that has used a signature piece, in this case, a bridge, to identify itself is Des Moines Iowa. Its Landmark Bridge, A 400-foot pedestrian bridge over the Des Moines River, is used not only as a symbol of the city for tourists but also as an identifier of certain government entities, like the parks system.
With the image of the Ala Wai Bridge, provided in the newsletter from Representative Scott Nishimoto, it could also be a place for people to gather similar to what the Hachiko Statue is for folks in Tokyo as a common meeting place at Shibuya Station.
What excites me about this possibility is the fact that this would be a forward-looking image of Honolulu that describes the potential of its future, and not continually reverting to a past that does not exist. It would be something that people, both tourists, and residents, could see as the progress of the city into the 21st Century.
And at the end, could be an inflection point where the crisis of COVID could be flipped to a vision of hope for the city as it rebuilds and, perhaps, gets redefined.
We can only hope.