The Commonplace #17
At Social Possibility Lab, we explore and encourage possibilities for greater good. Here are some of the things we are seeing, thinking, or doing this week:
- In our latest essaying, we consider the importance of opening to greater imaginings.
- We have written here about social labs. Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities (CCSC) is a European Commission-funded project. They have developed an urban labs model. CCSC’s urban labs explore innovative solutions to urban challenges by assembling and engaging an array of stakeholders.
- If planning processes can help address divides, advance equity, and broaden community imaginative capacity, one would think that arts and culture related efforts would be at the forefront. Not so fast. The authors of this 2021 paper in the Journal of Urban Affairs reviewed 64 municipal arts and culture plans from across the United States, concluding that most plans reflected a majority white establishment perspective and did not centrally include values such as inclusion, equity, and diversity.
- I looked at one such municipal arts and culture planning process during my dissertation research in 2012. That process did include a fairly substantive focus on inclusion and diversity. Although, I also explored several areas where the city might more fully embody what Susan Sturm, Timothy Eatman, John Saltmarsh, and Adam Bush have called “full participation”.
- There has been much discussion about the future of work. Increased automation across industries and sectors is projected to continue, and even accelerate. A mid-2020 McKinsey survey of 800 senior executives found that over 2/3 reported increased investment in automation and artificial intelligence. Leaders in Hampton Roads are considering how these and other trends influence the area’s growing robotics sector, led by companies such as Huntington Ingalls and SVT Robotics. At Virginia Tech, we are leading a project team to help imagine what the changing future of work might mean for their region, through the lens of a proposed regional robotics innovation hub.
- Have you been listening to more music over the last year? I have, for whatever reason. Recently, I have been enjoying Arlo Parks’ new album, Collapsed in Sunbeams. Parks spoke with The New York Times’ David Peisner for a January 2021 article. She described her music, as, “searching for light. I find it harder to write about joy because it’s simpler. There’s more complexity in sad things. But I’m a defiant optimist.”
- I finished reading David Epstein’s 2019 book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. I highly recommend. It may change the way you look at work, learning, and career. Epstein helps us see how overspecialization is a drawback and gives heart to all of us generalist-types.
Thanks for reading and exploring with us. Send us a message or join our list.
& the Social Possibility Lab team