Fresno is Potential: The State of Downtown 2016

Carl Jung had called it synchronicity. Meaningful coincidences. It was used to explain the phenomenon when physical objects and psychological ideals merge to create a higher meaning. In the realm of the pseudo-psychological, synchronicity was said to occur when our psyche develops a strong urge that tangibly manifests to reinforce our own desires. Although this theory does not hold enough scientific truth to be taught by modern day psychology, other areas of research point to the occurrence of this idea. Fractal geometry, chaos theory, and much of physics suggests that what we know is often ruled by connections; two photons that have been separated will reflect the other to some extent despite distance. A change in one photon causes a reactive change in the other. On a less expansive scale, that might not mean very much, but we are a species of meaning. We want to contain the universe, label it, color code it. We seek perfection in an imperfect world and when we cannot control it, we make meaning out of it.

you can argue with an idea, but when that idea becomes measurable, there is proof that patterns are forming.


Fresno is in a moment of synchronicity. Whether by design or circumstance, the ground breaking of the Fulton Mall project coincidentally (or maybe not) broke at the beginning of the seasonal shift from winter to summer. Renewal, rebirth, metamorphosis, whatever you choose to call it, no matter how cliché the comparison is. There is a reason things become cliché. But the Fulton Mall project isn’t the only sign that Fresno is shifting. There is a palpable energy, that for those of you who know what I am talking about cannot exactly explain to someone who has not taken the time to revisit what they have written off.

the Fulton Mall project isn’t the only sign that Fresno is shifting. There is a palpable energy.

Up until recently, what seemed to remain were fossils. Stand at one end of downtown and walk to the opposite side. Notice the shift, the color change. What hangs in the balance are decisions.  Ornate 20th century buildings meet urban signs of the discontent. Every couple of streets the architecture changes so much that you can almost hear the symphonies and wagon wheels on dirt roads change to honking automobiles and the Beatles. Fresno is layered like silt deposits, marking the years as they go until someone finally makes a choice big enough to change the landscape.

Like synchronicity, there are people who believe in predictable patterns. The amount of times X occurs before Y can, how many years go by between point A and B. You could make the argument that it is because we are ‘creatures of habit’ that find peace within the predictable because knowing means you have more control, knowing means you can separate success from failure. Knowing lessens your risk.  We seek perfection in an imperfect world. That is the reason we love coincidence, coincidence makes our lives fractals.

Fractals are infinite reoccurring self-similar patterns. They are the embodiment of symmetry; they are separate units working to create what science believes to be our perception of what makes the world around us beautiful. It is why we like melodies in music more than pots banging, why Apple products are popular now in comparison to their awkwardly large predecessors. What is popular and desired, is appealing because we’ve seen something similar to it before. They are familiar, they are comfortable. And while this all makes sense at face value, these fractals were not always perfect. Many cellphones were designed before the people at Apple decided to design their new phones to the Golden Ratio; a mathematical principle and artistically adopted belief in aesthetics. Before Beethoven and Mozart wrote, there were centuries of ‘primitive’ music that could only be described as being ‘literally’ experimental; we had to try out sounds before we found the ones that sounded right. The desire to perfect and renovate, to create harmony and beauty is nothing new and many people in downtown Fresno know exactly how many of the engineers at Apple must have felt before the first generation found its way to our hands, or how Thomas Edison felt after his 100th attempt at the lightbulb, or even J.K. Rowling who had been turned now by hundreds of publishers before Harry Potter finally made it to our laps. This is how nature intended it to be. We could never have evolved if we had not failed enough times to realize the wrong patterns and changed directions.

This is a city that continually attempts to find those patterns, to strive for synergy whether by blind coincidence or deliberate consciousness.

Fresno is a city of untapped potential. This is a city that continually attempts to find those patterns, to strive for synergy whether by blind coincidence or deliberate consciousness. A new pattern is emerging and that is one of reclamation. Next week at the State of Downtown luncheon, community leaders and others invested in Fresno will discuss and share the opportunities and plans for our city. There, the Downtown Fresno Partnership will unveil the patterns that are pointing towards a synergistic city where personal investment has been driving movement and how this shift has created enough traction that words and promises are becoming tangible. You can argue with an idea but when that idea becomes measurable, there is proof that patterns are forming. Proof that Fresno can one day be fractal. Proof that Fresno is potential rising.


On March 30th, 2016, we invite you to join emcee Ryan Jacobsen all at Warnor’s Theatre for the State of Downtown, presented by Fresno State’s Downtown Center. We’ll have all the latest news about what’s happening in downtown Fresno, as well as a special presentation by Mayor Swearengin, food from your favorite downtown restaurants, Tioga-Sequoia beer and special giveaways from our amazing sponsors. Experience how Fresno is making way for a beautiful future and how you can be a part of this exciting development. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 the day of event, and include food and drinks. For tickets, and information, and sponsorship opportunities, visit our website.

Proof that Fresno is potential rising.











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