Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Smarter Charlotte

Attendants of "BarCampCLT 2"

This week I had opportunities to attend two events featuring smart people here in Charlotte. At one event, Charlotte Viewpoint's "A Smarter Charlotte", co-hosted by Civic By Design, we spoke about the disconnect that arose in Charlotte's position between two recent national rankings of cities. One put Charlotte in the 6th overall position as the "brainiest" city in America in terms of college degree attainment, while the NRDC ranked us as only 38th overall on its "Smarter Cities" list for large cities, which evaluates cities for sustainability. We had a wonderful discussion, sometimes tense and lively, as my fellow attendees and I pondered various reasons why Charlotte's educated populace seems to consist of many cutthroat "rugged individuals" who avoid civic engagement and who pursue lifestyle choices that impede adoption of a city-wide, corporate vision for sustainable living in Charlotte.

So...poignantly to me, the session topics at the next event I attended, BarCampCLT2, seemed to feature two striking themes: the world of social media entrepreneurship (which aims to cater to the world of online - sometimes civic - communities where autonomous and private life seems to be in rapid retreat) and sessions on sustainable living initiatives and technologies that were led by CPCC's and gdwell's damned intelligent and agitatively so D.I. von Briesen (here below - one of the most remarkable characters I've ever encountered in Charlotte, I hafta admit).

D.I. diverts Barcamp's waste from landfill

The collective IQ-rubbing and agitation/perturverance/"destruction" (inside joke) at an event like Barcamp is always a visceral pleasure for me. Especially when evaluated in light of the Smarter Charlotte event's lamentations. Barcamp 2 is a wonderful manifestation to me that indeed there is hope for Charlotte. In people like D.I. and the Barcampers, there are present among us smart souls willing to take upon our greatest challenges by steeping themselves - with seeming abandon - into the very social dimensions ...and technologies!...that will create a truly smarter, civically cooperative and economically prosperous Charlotte. I feel like Charlotte is in great hands. You just have to look in the marginal places and corners of our city to find these busybodies, but, indeed, they are here and gleefully at work.

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