Monday, February 8, 2010

Need for Citizen Leaders

In tough economic times, people in struggling downtown areas have the tendency to point fingers at the Government and conversation seems to be around "who's to blame." While local Government shares much responsibility for the economic well-being of communities, I have always felt that citizens, business owners, landlords, artists, and others with a stake in Place, have as much and more power to transform their communities.

If rhetoric can be changed from blame to solutions, and citizen helplessness to empowerment and action, much can be done to transform sluggish downtowns. City Governments, especially with today's tight budgets, cannot be expected to do it all, and must actively seek citizen involvement and public-private partnerships to help revitalize and promote their City. If citizens can be transformed from complainers to ambassadors and their energy and good will put to use to plan special events, update websites, wield a paintbrush, clean up a lot or stream, host gatherings, organize an art show . . . amazing things can be accomplished without a lot of money.

The same, of course, can be said about our national economy, and I'd encourage all those out there who are truly interested in revitalization and preservation of Place to stop asking for permission and to just start making things happen. Your stories about how you've done this are welcome!

Photo courtesy of convexstyle

5 comments:

Chrissy Padilla said...

This is great! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Especially the part about an art show :)

Rob DeHaven said...

Our society has become so complacent and we have all the modern conveniences. When you think about what this recent snow storm has done to the mental preparedness of a community, has it helped improve it? I don't think it has. In fact, most people are just complaining about how cold it is, how mad they are the weather has put a damper on their ability to come and go as they please.

They want to blame the county or city in which they live because the streets are not cleaned. The government should be doing more, more, more. When are we going to wake up as a society and declare, ENOUGH! We have enough, we don't need anymore, now what can I do to give back? Who can I help today?

I appreciate the humanitarian aid that is extended to those less fortunate in other countries, but when are we going to start taking care of our people? There are a lot of Americans hurting and struggling but our attention spans are so short. We only help out in time of MAJOR crisis. If we could only do a little bit everyday to make a difference.

What will it take to get people motivated to help themselves? I don't think it will solve anything if we simply hand it to them. History has proven this fact already. Having social events that have a purpose with significant outcome, will this solve it? I think it will help. Social gatherings make people feel good. Humans are wired to interact with each other, but we need to ensure these meetings are purpose driven and not a forum to just complain about the problems.

In closing, I must admit, I haven't done enough to make the changes happen, but hopefully I am on the correct path now and will be doing my best to not just bring up the issues, but propose solutions. As a manager, I always tried to instill that value in my employees, so they were always thinking about solutions and not just the problems.

Sorry Marilyn, I'm not trying to take over your blog, but I'm very passionate about this subject.

Marilyn Finnemore said...

Thank Rob. A thoughtful, fascinating response. Much to think about here, and like you, I'm very passionate about this subject. As Americans,I think we need to re-embrace our sense of resourcefulness, especially in this tough economy.

Anonymous said...

One's real value first lies in to what degree and what sense he set himself.

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Brown

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