Sunday, February 19, 2012

Same Same but Different

In a post back in November, I wrote about an event I attended called the Oregon Imagination Conversation that was hosted at the Ziba auditorium. This event was a focused discussion on the state of imagination in Oregon and how imagination could be harnessed to address issues that the state faces.

This past Thursday, I attended an event at the Ziba auditorium put on by GOOD Magazine called GOOD Ideas For Cities aimed at harnessing local ideas and finding creative solutions to challenges that the city of Portland faces.

Mayor Sam Adams was there.

Where as the Imagination Conversation visibly lacked a strong showing of more than ten people under the age of 35, GOOD Ideas For Cities clearly brought out the millenials in full force. It is within this clear dichotomy that lies a major issue opportunity for Portland and a concept that I've been thinking about for a while now.

How can young energy and ideas be combined with experience and resources to get things done? Or how can we create a super generation of movers and shakers hell bent on finding creative solutions that have legs?

Like I said in November, Portland has a strong creative culture that, in part due to the lack of job opportunities, is proving to be quite entrepreneurial. And on top of being entrepreneurial, this generation in Portland (many of whom have recently moved here from all over the country) want to help solve problems and make their work do good things for the community. Many of them truly love this community and are looking for ways to plug in.

So my next question is, what is community? Is community something we are born into? Is it something that you automatically  become a part of once you touch down in a new place?

The way I look at it, community is whatever we want it to be, it's the collective efforts of people in the same place or with a similar mission. And based on this, Portland has two communities that are awfully close to becoming one based on the fact that these groups of people, young and old, native Oregonian and not, established or seeking solid ground, are in the same western outpost trying to make it a better place.

I knew this was true in November and now seeing another event, in the same space, with starkly different age groups in attendance working to tackle similar issues, it's even clearer that there is a bright opportunity here, who's in?

2 comments:

Wade Keech said...

Great commentary and insight. You pose some good questions about community. What can be done to engage participants from diverse backgrounds and allow them to become stakeholders? How do the "scientists" engage with the "artists", etc.? Finding and articulating a clear vision enables people to rally around a common theme such as what happened in the Occupy movement. Has this movement lost momentum because the vision was not articulated clearly enough? What lessons can be learned?

Emily Havens said...

Caleb! I saw an article a few months ago naming Portland as the "city of the future". I think it was actually more of a love letter to Portland, celebrating the innovative crowd (dare I say, community) of individuals who thrive in this culture dominated by the entrepreneurial spirit. My question is about what happens after? Both of these events you attended seemed to be full of bright energy and inspired conversations....how can we take this and move FOREWARD? Where to go from here?

Fun things. great work.