Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Hannah Arendt, 1:9:90 rule and greening the city
Submitted by Susan Miller on Sat, 12/06/2008 - 11:37.
"Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and then they can pick it up." - Hannah Arendt
It seems to me that Cleveland could be on the verge of a greening trend. Several ideas converged for me yesterday as I sat listening to Bobbi Reichtell, Terry Schwarz and Fred Collier present their plans for Reimagining Cleveland to the Cleveland Planning Commission. They offered a pattern book.
This fall while visiting family in southern New Hampshire, I visited the Hampshire Country School. The beautiful grounds of this 1700 acre boarding school held a story - the story of the invention of dressmaking patterns. The story is here: Butterick's History. Yes, a woman launched this idea that revolutionized dressmaking and fashion worldwide.
Butterick's wife was pretty darn good example of the the 1% of the The magical 1:9:90 rule to crowdsourced placemaking.
As I listend to the presentation and exchanged glances with the many urban growers and urban agriculture advocates who were in the room because their "chickens and bees" idea was being discussed again by the CPC, I realized that this was the 9% who would rate, edit or vote on it. But my thoughts were already moving to the 90% who would use the result. I was already dreaming of a city that would change building ordinances allowing at first and then requiring residents and business owners to disconnect downspouts. I was imagining a change in the city's policy that would demand that any and all future paving utilize permeable pavement wherever possible. (There's a lot of possibility.)
I imagined a website like this one, (Green Guerillas) where we read the stories of urban gardens. I imagined these concepts catching on in the inner ring suburbs and spreading to the exurbs.
I imagined that, lured by the greening of the city and the industriousness of urban youth engaged in growing and marketing their products, we would see exurban folk looking at their fuel bills and deciding to move to the city (even if they still felt they needed an estate surrounded by vine covered high fencing and security guards). In Key West, many high dollar estates are walled, their private homes tucked into neighborhoods. They enjoy privacy, others only see the green fence. I imagined the day when exurban commuters with heftier bank accounts considered living in Cleveland along the valley or on the escarpment so they would not have to commute, their outlying estates becoming summer homes. They would be lured by the green city, those less fortunate had built. They would be just another part of that 90% who would use the idea.
I was dreaming, I know. But living in Cleveland, sometimes you gotta dream right? I can't wait til we get busy with that pattern book and refashion Cleveland.
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