The below email arrived in my in-box today:
"Hello. My name is BLANK and I am a senior psychology major attending BLANK. I have been living in Silver Spring for the past four years. I have an assignment for my Urban Sociology class where I need to look at the population demographics of Silver Spring from the year 2000 to now. I was able to find some information on the census website, but a lot of people tell me Silver Spring used to be a tough area not too long ago. I was wondering if you would be able to give me some insight on how the area has changed, what caused the social change to occur, and around what year(s) did it happen? I would be very appreciative of any information you would be able to give me. Thank you."
I smiled at the thought of Silver Spring being thought of as "a tough area." By 2000 both Whole Foods (then named Fresh Fields) and Strosniders Hardware opened in "Phase One" of Silver Spring's "Town Center." Discovery Communications and the American Film Institute had also decided by 2000 to locate here.
This "tough area" is one of the biggest (sub)urban myths that Silver Spring still seems to be trying to live down. I've lived in downtown Silver Spring since 1992 and have been a visitor since the late 1970s and never once felt any more endangered here than anywhere else in the DC metro area that I have ever been to.
I welcome readers' opinions/answers to this student's questions. Please post comments and I will share them with this individual. Thank you.