Let’s start with Electric City Life’s mission statement: Engaging, activating, and informing Columbus, Georgia (and beyond) through a multi-media platform, events, and community projects.
After about a year, in 2015, the virtual platform needed a real life platform, where we could come together every month to discuss different subjects with an array of community authorities, in a similar laid back and positive toned conversational style.
We also join with other inclusive, culture meetings around the community. It isn’t always at The Loft, but this has been our home base for one Wednesday night of the month at 5:45pm.
When I first dreamed about Monthly Meeting of the Minds (MMM), I imagined it being 8-10 people in the back of The Loft, like a bible study or something.
However, the first meeting packed the main listening room with about 75 people, and it’s been full every month we’ve done it- simply because it is something the community wants and needs. We are excited to re-engage this unique gathering on August 15th at 5:45PM to celebrate the third anniversary.
One special month we had an incredible authority on building “Strong Towns”. Charles (Chuck) Marohn, Founder of Strong Towns, flew in for the day and his last stop was with us at MMM, thanks to Will Burgin.
The thesis question, which drove Chuck to start a non-profit and embark on spearheading Strong Towns while traveling around the country preaching this gospel, is:
“Why, despite all the growth we’ve experienced, are our cities, families and neighborhoods going bankrupt? Why the persistent decline despite our great affluence?”
Chuck explained how the most effective sustainable evolution is within small incremental changes. For instance, during thousands of years of civilization people experimented with what works over time and they consistently built tight-knit, walkable communities.
He gave perspective by saying, “in a whole generation we’ve completely changed everything, building our whole country for cars, not people, and it isn’t working. It was a big social experiment, but we did it all over our nation, instead of in small focus points.”
This made me think of Uptown Columbus, and other cities I’ve visited throughout the world, that have created a more livable, attractive area by simply building it for people instead of building it around cars.
This encouraged me (even more) to think of efforts for all areas of our community to experience this; MidTown and Bibb City are making incredible strides towards this, as well.
I talked to Chuck about Electric City Life, explaining how ECL has been an organic, sometimes messy, collaborative platform, and how we are continually trying to find innovative ways to engage and activate our community. He loved that one of our mottos is, “An engaged town is a strong town”.
Chuck proclaimed more of his gospel by explaining, “That’s good, keep going, a path to true sustainability will only come about through systems that receive feedback and are able to adapt in complex ways. Orderly but dumb (top down) systems perpetuate the worst problems while they simultaneously resist change, even when change is broadly demanded by the culture, and how chaotic but smart systems (bottom up), while scary to an affluent society, are the only way real progress can be sustained.”
I also asked how we can move into more effective results, with more engagement and strength.
He gave examples of engagement and ownership; for instance, we could give $100 to 10 people that deem themselves worthy and give them a section of our community so they can make it more engaging. Then to whoever does the best with the money, should be given more to implement more changes (STAYED TUNED FOR MORE NEWS ON THIS AUGUST 15th at The Loft 5:45PM).
In closing, MMM is an evolving community meeting where we’ve been able to cover a wide range of subjects and implement changes with leaders on healthy living, startups, film, leadership, The Knight’s City Challenge, Young Professionals, touring art studios, and more.
We will be offering Monthly Meeting of the Minds as a service. To those who are interested in sponsoring, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special guest, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, commenced one of the themed meeting, in partnership with The Young Professionals, “Speed Date the Candidates”. She spoke on the importance of local engagement in government. The Mayor spoke passionately on how we should show up for political meetings, ask questions, and call on our local representatives, not just to complain, but to advocate for what is important to us.
We hope you’ll join us. The more participation and feedback, the better connectivity and effectiveness we will have in our meetings and our community.