Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Catching Up With Our Digital Corner Of The World

The great thing about our digital age is that we are able to create a community of interesting people who share our passions for new thinking and debate. We’ve been reminded of it this week with some emails from some citizens of our community, and we want to pass them along.

The Remix Tour: Blogging From The Road

Our firm’s founder Carol Coletta is co-hosting conversations in Portland (OR), Chicago, Providence and Columbus (OH) with one of the world’s smartest thinkers, Charles Leadbeater.

She’s blogging from the road with photos and videos, as they talk about ways to help cities co-create their economic futures by unlocking their talent and creativity in surprising and often overlooked places. In Carol’s role as president of CEOs for Cities, she and Mr. Leadbeater are engaging urban leaders in discussions about how they can work with city residents, rather than for them, to tackle intractable social and economic challenges.

Mr. Leadbeater is a leading authority on innovation and creativity, and his book, We-think, will be published later this year, adding to the insights found in his three previous books. He’s advised governments, including 10 Downing Street and the European Commission, as well as major corporations. On the tour, he and Carol are talking about how cities, with the right tools and a platform that capitalizes on distributed resources, can engage citizens’ talents into a mass, self-organizing, collaborative engine for opportunity.

If you’re like us and find all of this fascinating, you’re invited to check out the blog at CEOs for Cities.

Whitehaven Blog

Meanwhile, Second Strangeness – who has contributed some helpful strategies for revitalizing Whitehaven on our blog – has a new one of his own new blog that you will find interesting in light of our recent discussion about the future of Whitehaven, a critical area of Memphis.

Skate Park

Dr. Aaron Shafer, a postdoc fellows at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, continues to work with his colleagues, Steve Zatechka and Zachary Baquet, on the vision of a big-league skate park for Memphis. The skate park website now has been supplemented by a blog, where they weigh in on their project and other issues such as Beale Street Landing. Surely this is the kind of project that every one can get behind.

Bass Pro Shop

From Buffalo, Tim Tielman notifies us of his blog about the damage that the proposed Bass Pro Shop megastore will have on the historic district where the chain wants to locate in his hometown. The new site is the latest choice for the retailer, which earlier walked away from its proposal to convert an abandoned arena into what the store called a “tourist destination.” Because of the similarities to Bass Pro Shop’s negotiations in Memphis, we’ve written about the big box retailer’s shifting positions in Buffalo, and Mr. Tielman says the project now requires “an upfront public subsidy of $130 million before Bass Pro and a local developer have to spend a dime.”

Bass Pro Shop Petition

Speaking of Bass Pro Shop, we received an email alerting us to a petition opposing the use of The Pyramid for the Bass Pro Shop. The petition asks local overnment “to rescind the non-binding agreement and move forward with other plans, in the best interest of our city’s landmark and taxpayers.”

Give East Memphis Its Due

Last and clearly not least, we also received an email from the always interesting Elizabeth that came in too late to be considered in the Best Streets and Neighborhoods discussion, but she asked an interesting question: why do we never hear about East Memphis in these kinds of conversations?

But she says it best in her own words:

“I have to give east Memphis its due on this one. We have relatives on Mason in the White Station area. Without a doubt, the school district is excellent. So are the parks, like that adjacent to Richland Elementary. The neighborhoods are filled with families taking walks, kids riding bikes and skating, and groups of neighbors getting together for cookouts. I was admittedly surprised at the number of people who brought food (like some amazing homemade brownies!) to our family as they moved in, just to welcome them to the neighborhood. It is definitely a beautiful, family friendly area deserving of recognition.

“I want folks to appreciate Memphis as much as I do, and would love to see us retain talent as well as attract the best and brightest. But all folks are looking for something a little different. Some of those bright stars may love a good Saturday night out in a hip, urban environment, but will choose safe, quiet, ‘family’ neighborhoods in good school districts for the rest of their time. (And cool as it may be, the Snowden area is not for everyone.) I think that for the city to succeed in its recruitment and PR efforts, we must promote ALL that is good.”


Aaron said...

East Memphis is indeed a beautiful area. However, from at least an outsiders perspective it's still mostly a very homogenous population. We recently moved here last summer from CA and were most attracted to the Snowden area because it was one of the few areas in the city where the most amount of natural integration of cultures seems to have occurred. Coupled with a great city school, a greenline and many ammenities within WALKING or BIKING distance we were completely sold on this area. Hopefully the Snowden area is a promise of what the city will become. Nevertheless, what a great asset for Mempis to have different neighborhoods that can cater to different lifestyles and values.

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