In a series of site visits I’ve recently taken as part of the Orton Family Foundation’s selection of a second round of community demonstration projects, I’ve talked about a number of ways land use planning has broken down in America.
One manifestation is the way public meetings are conducted the same old way at the same old place and with the same old people participating. With the same people participating, meetings run dangerously close to the “jerk factor” as Lex Leifheit so humorously and aptly put it in her post.
I won’t call the people who always talk bullies, but when they continually dominate conversations it can move from boring to intimidating.
Anusha Venkataraman rightly recognizes that as resources become more limited to local governments, communities can turn to citizens to fill the gap.
So for us to move to Lex’s “Post-Jerk Era” we need to fully employ the creativity that art brings to unleash new energy and allow for different conversations and approaches to seemingly intractable challenges.
Not only can art make unsual dicussions possible but as Sara Bateman argues in her post, it will make new and lasting connections between ideas, people, and solutions.
There are lots of moments going on at this time and the Occupy Wall Street marches and sit-ins are partly a cry to mix it up, let people in, create a more just place, and liberate us for a new way of thinking.
As many the posts in this Salon demonstrate, art can and should lead the way.