TED Conversations

Ziska Childs

Freelancer, united scenic artists


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How do we get back the neighborhood?

Of course I'm referencing the 2012 TED prize The talk which inspired this question has been posted: Jen Pahlka talking about "Peace Corps for Geeks" aka- coding for government. One of the ideas in that talk which resonated for me was it's not about making the bureaucracy easier- it's about solving the problems. More often than not that means getting the bureaucracy out of the way and letting people be neighborly. "Adopt a fire hydrant"- shovel it out when there's a snow storm. That's pretty simple stuff and it promotes Community - with an upper case "C".

I've seen my own home town go from a place where I could walk to everything (the butcher the baker the candlestick maker) to one where there are 30,000 vehicle round trips a day. This is for a town of 6000 residents. The service providers drive in and out for work. The residents drive out and in to go to school, the hospital, the rec center and to find lower priced goods. Employee housing (also out of town-but closer) has resulted in a boost for the construction industry which increases the service trips in and out. Placing a transfer tax on real estate has favored flipping and cowboy development. I only mention this to emphasize that treating the symptom doesn't work and the unintended consequences can be devastating.

So, how do we get back the neighborhood? How do we get back the Community?


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    Mar 30 2012: Neighborhoods everywhere have resources like ours! The challenge is how to animate them.

    Getting back the excellent original question, "So, how do we get back the neighborhood?", I love telling our own story--and will continue, more fully and in more detail, if there is sufficient interest--but this TED Conversation needs to continue, and we need more of an exchange among real-world neighborhood development practitioners.

    As you, Ziska, pointed out earlier, and as others have pointed out in the course of the discussion, this neighborhood focus, this bottom-up orientation, is a critical part of the City 2.0 initiative. Others have their own story to tell.

    As this conversation nears its end, I'm prompted to ask: How can we continue and how can we expand the participation?

    Food for thought...
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      Mar 30 2012: I've found that telling stories sparks the same desire to share in others....

      Let's see if we can keep momentum for the next week..... if we still have interest it's as simple as posting another question to the TED board (just because I find the direct links from the individual talks helpful for bringing in diverse people with new insight)
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      Mar 30 2012: Richard

      I think the irreducible minimum for a group is that they have a purpose. Perhaps if you talk more about the purpose of you group?

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