ARG-146

The following appeared as a letter to the editor from the owner of a skate shop in Central Plaza.

"Two years ago the city council voted to prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. They claimed that skateboard users were responsible for litter and vandalism that were keeping other visitors from coming to the plaza. In the past two years, however, there has been only a small increase in the number of visitors to Central Plaza, and litter and vandalism are still problematic. Skateboarding is permitted in Monroe Park, however, and there is no problem with litter or vandalism there. In order to restore Central Plaza to its former glory, then, we recommend that the city lift its prohibition on skateboarding in the plaza."


Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.


In this letter, the author suggests that skateboarding will affect business, disrupt public property, and increase the amount of garbage on the plaza. It is suggested that skateboarding should be prohibited in the central plaza to restore business prosperity. Although the original intention of the author's proposal is solid, whether or not his prediction will produce the expected results depends on the answers to the following questions.


First, is the decline in business of the shops, the increase in the number of garbage on the plaza, and the destruction of public facilities caused by other reasons? In terms of store business, the prevalence of online shopping, the attractive new commercial street nearby, and the recent terror attacks on the square, could be causing the shops on the plaza to be experiencing poor business. In addition, it is possible that there has never been a sufficient amount of garbage cans around the plaza, and so people living near the plaza have become accustomed to littering. Also, the facilities in the plaza may have been used for a long time, and damage would be normal if there was a lack of necessary maintenance. If the above factors truly exist, then the author's argument that all problems are due to skateboarding would be ungrounded.


Even if the increase in the damage of garbage and public facilities and the deteriorating business of shops are all indeed caused by skateboarding, we still need to consider whether the prohibition of skateboarding is the only way to solve the above problems, or if it’s the best method. Perhaps the plaza could be divided into a skateboard-friendly area and could fine people who skateboard or litter in other areas. Alternatively, the central square can be developed into a square with a skateboard theme, and some skateboard shows could be held regularly to attract more traffic. In such a business situation, the enthusiasm of the skateboarders will not be dampened, and the above-mentioned environmental problems and sluggish business will be dealt with. In contrast, the author's proposal to directly ban skateboarding activities is overzealous, and it may promote other chain problems.


For the time being, it is thought that prohibiting skateboarding is the sole way to solve the problem. However, does prohibiting skateboarding allow the business of shops to thrive anew? There is a possibility that the prohibition of skateboarding is only a termination of the worsening trend in business of the shops. Consumers are already disappointed with the shopping conditions at the plaza, so shops need to make additional efforts to restore the original prosperity. For example, you can promote your storefront on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to attract customers, update products to suit trends, and promote more activities for holidays. It is only after we have confirmed that consumers have the intention to return to the plaza to continue shopping, that the author's proposal will be worth taking into consideration.


In short, although the author believes that the prohibition of skateboarding will cause business to return to the peak it reached the past, actions should not be taken hastily before the above-mentioned issues have clear answers.





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