There are so many inspirational conversations happening around city and place. If you can filter out the national noise and rancor, it’s pretty clear that people everywhere are convening in many ways to find serious solutions that make our cities, towns and neighborhoods better places to live in. These conversations focus on a shared vocabulary of sustainability, inclusiveness and equity, but elevate those words from catch-all terms to reality.
Over the last few months I’ve been to Chicago, twice. (RealCap and Place Lab Salons). I’ve been to New York, San Francisco (SoCap), Los Angeles (GreenBuild), briefly back home to Pittsburgh (p4) and then last week to Cincinnati for the “People Investing in Place” convening. My travels have centered on crowdfunding and its potential impact on cities but that’s just one little slice of the pie. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of other conversations going on on how to make our cities better places for everyone.
“People Investing in Place,” hosted by People’s Liberty (an outgrowth of the Haile Foundation) was a particularly interesting convening. Every year, People’s Liberty provides several fellowships and a bunch of project grants to a new breed of young people, all motivated to make Cincinnati better. People’s Liberty believes these people are the future leadership of Cincinnati, so while they are investing in projects that make places better, they are also investing in people. It’s a terrific program, but still, the small People’s Liberty team want to do better, want to do more.
Fifteen of us convened, from lots of other cities, and brought our ideas along with us. We shared projects, thoughts and commonalities. We prodded People’s Liberty (and ourselves) to take more risks and new directions. I have 15 new friends now, all who care about cities as much as I do.
This is the culture committed to repairing our cities. We are all makers, remaking the places we live in. Crowdfunding just happens to be my tool. What’s yours?