You’re All Nuts, Thank You Very Much
Last month, Fred Kent from the Project for Public Spaces spoke at a Placemaking Summit in Traverse City about the need for a community to have zealous nuts. Without these zealous nuts, nothing every gets done. The zealous nuts are the natural place-makers and all of us are zealous nuts at one point or another if we have local knowledge and we dream. We just don’t always feel comfortable publicly exhibiting our nutty-ness. Too often, we’re met with indifference, which is by far worse than outright rejection.
Communities also need to support and empower their zealous-nuts. I don’t mean financially (although that’s appreciated,too), but more importantly communities need to not treat radicals as simply entertainment only to ignore them when it’s time to do “serious work.” No, the zealous nuts need to be embraced as full-members of the community. They have valuable insight, energy and experiences that CAN be implemented. They are the YIMBYs that see potential where others don’t. Where NIMBYs are at best warning flags and at worse liabilities, YIMBYs are the assets that drive change and excellence.
I didn’t get Kent’s remarks down when he was in Traverse City, but he has talked about this before and this passage echoes the message:
Many towns and cities have transformed parks, downtowns and other crucial public spaces from derelict eyesores to lively gathering places beloved by local citizens. This is not the product of visionary planners, innovative developers or powerful politicians (although they helped) but by a new breed of engaged citizen we at PPS fondly call “zealous nuts.
Are you a zealous nut who has been cast aside? Or, are you someone willing to throw your support behind a nut? There are several ideas brewing in the community and they all need both types: those who have new ideas, those who need to act and those willing to do what-ever is needed for support.
We are all nuts, really; let’s embrace it. In the end, that’s how we go from, as Kent says in the following video, from good/adequate to excellent. As he said, “adequate isn’t great.” Release the nuts.
Interesting discussion about potential for Front St. around 3 min mark.