Working on an independent study on Social Networks and Health, I guest posted at Orgcomplexity — an urban policy and complexity think tank.
So when Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed said in his TED City 2.0 Talk that “cities are where hope meets the street,” I agree. But I have to add that, often times, hope meets mountain paths and dusty village roads far from the city. Hope does not care whether we settle in on rolling hills or urban sprawl. Perhaps then, we should ask, where does this hope come from? Perhaps it’s not from the city street or rural lane, in particular, but wherever we are.
I live in one of Ohio’s Rust Belt cities. I love living in its downtown. It is just the right size for me. I love walking its streets. These same streets connect at some point to 70+ miles of bike and hike trails (my heaven). I am conscious of the plentiful green space options that surround my home, most within walking and biking distance.
Green spaces and connectedness of streets is as much of a must for me as community safety. What’s more, Midwestern hospitality is true — all true. And though I see plenty of empty buildings, cracked brick walls, and tired structures, I can also see and feel the effort being made to keep it all alive. I am hopeful. This city inspires me.
Since many cities are not compatible with healthy daily life (I have lived in some of them), I started to mindfully explore the nooks and crannies of my current neighborhood. I’m sharing some here today and will certainly show you more next time. Before you move on to your next read, I’d like to leave you with a question I have asked myself while working on this project.
Does your environment help you thrive or cause you to wilt away?
Creative destruction in action: the Dayton Daily News annex along Ludlow Street is in the process of being demolished.The adjacent Schwind Building has already been imploded, with only rubble remaining. Student housing for a nearby community college is replacing nearly an entire block of vacant buildings. Just out of the photo on the left is the neoclassical facade of the main Daily News building, which is being incorporated into the new construction.
As humans, we create — we build. We may build structures — soaring art or hulking defense. As humans, we are responsive to our internal as well as our external environments. As humans, we have the propensity to connect, to share, to exchange, to receive, to give, to develop, to innovate, to thrive… or to wilt away.