Behind many great civic projects is a mixture of unlikely relationships and creativity. You can do some things to make the magic happen. But you also need a little luck.
Seeing the opportunity for change is the genius of leadership and often involves finding paths that are hidden to everyone else. Herding people through those passages is the practice of leadership. Here’s how to be better at the genius parts of leadership.
Forget about the NIMBYs vs. greedy developers showdowns. The real stories in local government are about efforts to create more interesting and attractive urban environments, and the people involved in these efforts. Some are elected officials or city workers, but many aren’t. They’re people in neighborhoods doing things that are slightly unusual, such as walking, biking, or taking buses to work . . . or restoring old homes.
Some of the changes we see in cities just make old processes more efficient. But some will have a much deeper impact, and places that apply old ways of thinking to completely new challenges will be making a big mistake.
Some of the most exciting urban projects around were once considered crazy ideas. So how do you tell the difference between a crazy idea that’s a great leap forward and one that’s . . . just plain crazy? And what do you do with the determined people behind these projects? Here’s a way to separate the bold but doable projects from the delusional, while encouraging citizens to dream big.