It takes a lot of joy and creative style to keep a community strong. Charlyn Griffith, a North Philadelphia resident, has made it her mission to open up the conversation around how we want our cities organized. Walking into a space with welcoming faces, the #Politicourselves program and assembly
loosened up the collective mental gears.
Around the corner from smiling members of Philly Urban Creators was a play-doh blueprint of Philadelphia. The atmosphere of the room was immediately imaginative and ready for play. Members were invited to meld the clay as they saw fit, and imagine a city that suited their needs and joys. The goal was to design a future history that kept us all in mind. Melding with the shape of the crowd, the event got a little cozy as conversations became more intimate and neighborly.
Like sparks flying off of a chain saw, folks of all ages started spitting new ideas on what our city could be. The crowd was fired up by this atmosphere of imagination and got smaller, closer, and more engaged. A practiced organizer is flexible and ready to bend discussion to the needs of those in the room, so Charlyn (and crew) thought fast on their feet. There were dreams of playgrounds, endless gardens, farms, and food unhinged from Big Ag hands; education that reflected tools that help a peoples grow. Folks came up with innovative ideas on what they want their cities to be built for, and how to work together to achieve those goals. On the whole, the event was a great practice in removing power from the hands of the elite, and returning it to the palms of the many.