15 to Watch in 2015

I got a great shout out from the Tampa Bay Times as someone making things happen in the Tampa Bay region for 2015.  For the full list click Read more

Do You Love Your City?

What makes cities lovable? Why do we connect emotionally with some places and not others? And why does that matter? Author and consultant Peter Kageyama loves cities.  Big cities, small cities, villages and small towns.  He thinks he has Read more

Mash Up for Halloween

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I was speaking with a group from the Alliance for Innovation today on a webinar and was challenging them to think about ways of adding fun to the mix of our various projects.  I mentioned the idea of a neighborhood clean up which is a good, solid community project but not necessarily thought of as ‘fun’ in the traditional sense.  So based on the current season, I opined that maybe we could mash up a Trick or Treat event with a neighborhood clean up and make the later a more fun and engaging event.  Seems like a natural fit.  If any communities out there have done something like this, I’d love to hear about it!

TEDx Iowa City Video

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On 11/11/11 it was my honor to be a speaker at the inaugural TEDx Iowa City event.  For a first time event, they knocked it out of the park with a great venue, cool stage and a wonderful array of speakers; local, national and international!

South Bend Declares Its Love

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In June I wrote a piece called “The Surprising Life in America’s Dying Cities” for Infrastructurist.com.  The piece highlighted the amazing things that were happening in the cities designated by Newsweek Magazine in January as the 10 most “dying” places.  Needless to say, the cities on that list were not happy with the tag placed on them.  Since I published that article, one more of those “dying” cities has stepped up to declare the rumors of their demise being greatly exaggerated.

South Bend, Indiana was number eight on the Newsweek list.  And local radio personality Tori James did not like it. But not having budgets to counter the publicity, she decided that South Bend needed to remind itself of the good things it had in the community.  She came up with the idea that the citizens should write “love notes” to the city.  She took the idea to Downtown South Bend Inc. and they decided to run with it.  Leveraging the radio station and the local paper they were able to get word of the project out to South Bend.  They put actual mailboxes in several downtown shops and invited people to drop off their notes in person.  Online submissions came from all over the country as hundreds of love notes came in.

Last week the city declared “I Love South Bend” day and the love notes were posted in the windows of shops throughout downtown.  Local artists were brought in to paint the windows and seam together the notes into displays of the love and affection people have for their city.

While things like the Grand Rapids Lip Dub might get more external attention, one cannot underestimate the impact of these simple, heartfelt efforts such as South Bend has done. This project was BY them and FOR them.  A declaration of love and connection that becomes part of a longer term effort to improve the relationship between city and citizen.  Every community would do well to reflect on that relationship and hopefully do so without a scare or an outside threat.

More Photos

For the Love of Akron

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On August 23, 2011 we conducted the “For the Love of Akron” workshop at the University of Akron. The event was sponsored by the Akron office of the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation and drew over 200 participants. The event also featured Knight Soul of the Community lead consultant Katherine Loflin, the team from The Civic Commons who provided the video booth and graphic recording by Michelle Royal of HDYI .

Lots of great ideas were generated & shared.  Lots of blimp references as well as mentions of Swenson’s hamburgers and Luigi’s pizza.  Check out the photo set here.

We even had an earthquake!

Workshop with City of St. Petersburg Leadership

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On Wednesday, June 15th, it was my honor to present to the leaders of the City of St. Petersburg at their monthly learning session. The meeting brings together over 100 of the city’s department and divisional leaders for opportunities to learn and connect with each other. I was there at the invitation of St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, who has become a fan of the book and big supporter of the ideas.

The group was very eager to hear about ways they can engage with their citizens without having to spend resources they no longer have. We workshopped several ideas including the very popular “what is your city t-shirt” exercise that got everyone very engaged. Thanks again to Mayor Foster and City Administrator Tish Elston for the invitation.

With St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster

Surprising Life in America’s “Dying” Cities

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Here is the piece I wrote for Infrastructurist.com which challenges the way we think about statistics.  In cities that Newsweek magazine declared to be “dying” we have seen amazing amounts of life and activity.  Recall the recent post that showed New Orleans was the “coolest city for startups”; on Newsweek’s list, New Orleans was the #1 dying city.

Check out the piece which includes the amazing Grand Rapids Lip Dub – if you have not seen the video yet, you must check out the incredible response that Grand Rapids came up with to being declared a dying city.

5 Questions with Biz(941)

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Biz941, the business magazine for Sarasota and Manatee counties here in Florida, asked me five questions about the future of our cities. Check out the answers here!

Group Hug St. Louis

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The owners of STL Style, Jeff & Randy Vines, whom I profile in the book, have come up with an ingenious idea to spread the love in their hometown. The are sponsoring “Group Hug St. Louis” which invites people from all over the area to take a picture of themselves hugging something they love about the city. Could be a building, a piece of public art, a sign or even a person.

I love the simplicity and genuine heart that this idea shows.  Way to go guys!

TEDx Tampa Bay Presentation

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It was my honor to be part of TEDx Tampa Bay for the second year in a row.  As part of the team that produces the event, I have been able to work with people who are passionate about the community and the spirit of ideas and engagement represented by TED.  This year I was also privileged to be one of the speakers at the event.

I have spoken around the world but I will say that TEDx was one the most pressure packed presentations I have ever given.  The tight format is part of it but mostly it is the pressure of knowing you are part of the global TED community.  The global audience for these talks is an amazing array of people who are also doing extraordinary things.  This is a group that you want to impress and I hope the ideas contained in it are worthy to be part of that global conversation!

CITY Love T-shirts Now Available

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In partnership with the amazing guys at STL-Style in St. Louis, I am very happy to announce a special t-shirt design to commemorate the book launch.   I write about how retailers such as STL-Style are creating t-shirts that are aimed at locals who want to express their pride in the communities.  Wearing these shirts is essentially a public display of affection for your city.  So we hoped to come up with a design that could speak to those of us who love cities.

To Order Click Here!