Filed under: Birmingham, AL, Civic Engagement, civic/service organizations, other cities, urban issues
Even if you just stumble across this page, I’d love to hear what ideas you may have from your own towns about this post.
Bets and I had some friends over for drinks to celebrate the end of the Carnival season before the beginning of Lent and my attempt to get back into decent shape before Memorial Day. While enjoying beer and wings, the conversation shifted to the norm: what’s going on and how can we change things. Among those at the gathering were friends that we did not make until we met here in Birmingham, though we were actually neighbors in Savannah. The conversation with them about what we missed about Savannah while being honest and frank about its shortcomings made me think about simplifying the statement I earlier today (if that’s possible). The main thing that seems to drive the future of a city is communication on all levels. The question is how many people really take advantage of the tools and resources currently available to reach this goal
Planned changes to my office’s website in the next two or three weeks that will make our intentions somewhat clearer. Several organizations in the region are trying to make their websites cleaner and simpler. While this eventual streamlining may be well for those of us on the other side of the technological divide, there are many people here in town that do not have access to a computer and that do not “know” what’s going on. The coolest thing about my time in Savannah was watching the availability of information change and how that change impacted the way things were done in the city. It is still far from perfect. The key is figuring out how to plug in wherever you are. We all operate in spheres of influence that prevent us from seeing everything going on. activeculture.info, organizational websites and the newspapers are fine, but what about 4” x 5” cards announcing upcoming events. Let’s beat them over the head with flyers announcing what’s going on. And not just art gallery openings, and not just in the usual places. How about getting some of this information in West End, Ensley and Pratt City? Even if they do not attend at first, the seed is planted for the next time.
For those of us who experienced college, this is nothing more than taking our extracurricular activity experiences and applying them to modern times. The only real way to affect change is to get out there and make it known every way possible.
I’m tired of selling those that do not have the right “tools” short; I’ll get off the soapbox only after making people aware of all that their city has to offer. But it takes a change in attitude that a city must undertake thoroughly and completely before that happens. If we’ve truly done everything that we can and people are still apathetic, then it will just have to stay the way it is. People must begin to consider the fact that everyone wants to see their city succeed; now let’s figure out how to get everyone to the table. Let me know what you think.
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