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 RETHINK COMMUNITY -

2013 Garland Neighborhood Summit 

I just returned homr from an inspiring community event sponsored by City of Garland Environmental Waste Services, Garland Power & Light, and North Central Texas APA.

Peter Kageyama, author of for THE LOVE of CITIES, was the keynote speaker.  Peter is a community and economic development consultant based in St. Petersburg, Florida.  He has spoken all over the world about bottom up community development and the amazing people that are making change happen.

Peter's approach to improving cities is to look at what makes cities lovable and what motivates people to do extraordinary things for their places.  His book, For the Love of Cities, was recognized by Planetizen as a Top 10 Book for 2012 in urban planning, design and development.

My head is still swimming with all the information and insights from this special event which lasted from 8 AM to 2PM today.  In addition to Peter's presentation, participants were able to choose two more presentations to attend from several.  I chose Glenna Brown's and Lexie Okeke's presentations.  Glenna is the Programs Manger for the City of Garland Environmental Waste Services Department.  Lexie is the founder of BE the Delta, a company dedicated to serving individuals, non-profit organizations, and social impact concerned businesses.  Her presentation focused on how to inspire and keep volunteers and Glenna's focused on waste management from the citizen's viewpoint.

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 Peter's approach to urban development is centered around finding ways to increase the love of citizens for their community, and one of the primary ways he recommends to achieve this is to look for the fun.  He believes that most folks tend to overthink solutions. They often believe they need a lot of money to bring forth viable solution.  He told the story of a community that wanted a water park, but could not afford one.  Then someone suggested bringing a garden hose to the park.  Remember the hot summer days when you played in the back yard with the garden hose?  Well if you do, you will know how much fun the children had in the park that Peter spoke of.  He suggested that we need to bring more opportunities to play to our communities.  One of the ways to do this is to ask ourselves:  What is the garden hose solution?

BRING MORE FUN TO YOUR COMMUNITY

During the seminar, we were provided with opportunities to come up with our own versions of "garden hose" solutions.  Here are a few from one exercise we did:

For $500 or less, design a "garden hose' solution to engage the citizens in your community:

PORTABLE PARK

Purchase a 20' x 30' square of artificial turf, put a blackboard on it, furnish chalk, and move it around from week to week to various areas in the neighborhood.  Maybe have one side of it for children to draw on and the other side for their parents to record "bucket lists"  BEFORE THE YEAR IS OUT I WANT TO. . . .

 

SPEND THE $500 TO ENGAGE YOUTH TO PARTICIPATE IN COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT

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I learned so much and had a great time today.  It was fun to touch base with so many people from city hall again: Mayor Athas, BJ Williams, Scott LeMay, Anita Goebel, Beth Dattomo and others whom I haven't seen for the past couple of months.  It was also great to meet and make many new friends.

I recruited a new person for the Planning Committee for the Garland Urban Agricultural Center and Community garden--speaking of which, I also won a door prize that I'll pick up on Tuesday, just in time for our Wednesday, October 30 meeting at my home.  Hope to see you all back and with lots to share!

 

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