From Commodity to Community

 "...As we systematically outsourced our experience of community, we simultaneously eroded the strength of our actual communities.  We lost (or failed to make) connections with those around us, with whom we shared geography or perhaps much more.  As the web of social capital became unwoven in our towns and neighborhoods, we made ourselves vulnerable to those factors beyond our community’s control.  We do not collectively share personal investment in our common place, and we now lack the benefits that a cohesive society can bring..."

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How to Be a Vanguard

 "...Reflecting on the experience, I keep coming back to the feeling I got from the first moments spent together in the  Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative  downtown space, which was something along the lines of, “we all speak the same language.”  I’ve been to many conferences and I’ve attended plenty of professional development, but I’ve found it rare that, in a room full of diverse backgrounds as with the 2013 Vanguards, the group will nonetheless feel an immediate kinship of shared values..."

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Why Towns Matter

"...small towns are often forgotten, in a world where size matters.  In fact it is a critical detail in the American narrative, that anyone growing up in a small town can (and as the narrative goes, should) eventually move to the city to make something of themselves, reinforcing the notion that small towns are supposed to be left behind.  Think: Jay Gatsby, Howard Roark, Abraham Lincoln, and Mr. Smith.

Still, we shouldn’t forget that without all of those great small towns quietly raising fresh new talent for it to then up and leave to the opportunities of the big city, there wouldn’t be the narrative to begin with.  Towns may seem small and un-noteworthy from the skyscraper view of the city, but they are an unsung breeding ground that serves to first support and later cheer the successes of great people, great ideas, and great changes..."

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