Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs wrote,   “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” 

Kind of a nice sentiment right? 

I mean who can disagree?

But maybe..,just maybe…a part of you is wondering if that’s just pie in the sky idealistic hooey. 

And I suppose it may be. But…

Ideals are important. Values too. 

It’s vital that we try and it’s imperative that we strive. 

I keep hearing how we live in an age of disruption where everything we know is being challenged. 

How we work. 

Where we work. 

How we get around. 

How we shop. 

Name the sector or the subject and it’s being rethought. 

Retail. 

Higher education. 

Cars. 

The Presidency. 

It’s both exciting and scary. 

Me, I’m cool with change.

I find technology interesting and I love to learn about new things and new ways of thinking. 

But I also feel it’s imperative that we hold onto some foundations, cling to bedrock values and think about what we want to see last. 

Traditions are important. So are roots and history. 

But they shouldn’t shackle us or prevent us from going to new places in our minds and communities. Values and traditions should inform us and the things that work should endure. 

Inclusiveness is one of those things. 

So Jane Jacobs was right. 

The table —so to speak—should make room for all who wish to sit there and participate. And efforts should be made to involve as many people as possible. We need the coalition of the willing to be ever growing. 

I think often about what my city has taught me (us) if we take the time to reflect. 

We work best when we include, when we seek to unite, understand and engage. 

We fail and we hurt others when we exclude, divide, label and ignore. 

Inclusiveness promotes respect and encourages participation and dialogue. 

A top down “father knows best” style of governing is a dead end. 

Inclusiveness is noisy, cumbersome, time consuming and not as efficient as top down decision making but it’s worth it. 

And it creates human connections. And we need that more now than maybe ever. 

The comedian Sara Silverman has a new show on Hulu in which she seeks to spend time with people who don’t see life as she does. 

I caught a sample episode online in which the Jewish liberal from New England visits a family of Trump voters in Louisiana. 

They talk about hot button topics including  gay marriage and immigration in a humorous way that doesn’t change any one’s mind but does change how they see each other. They laugh. They bond. They leave with their humanity not only intact but enhanced. 

To quote The Beach Boys: “Wouldn’t it be nice”. 

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