Please join me for Cycle Forward’s upcoming Curiosity Series, being held Wednesdays in October at 7 p.m. Eastern.
“What is the Curiosity Series,” you ask? That’s ever so curious of you. It’s a series of four free Zoom discussions for people who are both passionate and curious about trail communities. We’ll consider one “curious question” each week and see where the conversation takes us.
You may have seen me write about the relationship between personal/professional disruption and innovation. Disruption is a necessary ingredient to innovation. We have to disrupt our thoughts, assumptions, and practices to move forward. That’s why I’m offering this series…so that we can get curious and envision a better, more innovative future for trail communities.
The spirit of the series is one of building a sense of community, exchanging ideas, and learning and exploring together. To accomplish this, we’ll keep the groups small and the conversations interactive and agree to a set of ground rules (below). The point isn’t to set “rules,” per se, but I’m aiming for a certain kind of conversation – one without any posturing or passive involvement. Are you in?
What if we told communities they didn’t need to change a single thing about their place?
For years, I’ve been advising communities to make various changes to improve both destination appeal and quality of life. I recently started to wonder what would happen if we told communities they didn’t need to change at all. Would they be more authentic? Or less? Would there be missed opportunities (or not)? What would the implications be?
Do we respect trail naysayers? Should we?
Anyone who works in trails (and community development in general) knows there are naysayers. We tend to talk about naysayers, NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard) in a less than positive manner. But are we hearing our dissenting neighbors? Do we respect them and their point of view? What do we do when their view is that of the “vocal minority?”
How can we get people who are struggling involved in trails (and outside using them)?
The trails world is pretty good at talking about diversity and inclusion and progress is being made in a lot of ways. But I often go to trail-related meetings and sense that most people there are in similar economic and life circumstances. This is a broad brush statement, but decisions are often made about trails and communities without the input of a lot of our neighbors. What can we do get more people to the proverbial table and outside using trails?
What’s changing in community development that might change our approach to trail towns?
The trail town model was conceived roughly 20 years ago and is based on the Main Street Approach, which started in 1980. Community development has changed in a lot of ways in the time since. How is it changing and how might we adjust our approach to trail towns to ensure that any trail town initiatives are responding to present day needs and circumstances?
- Approach the discussion in the spirit of curiosity
- Nobody needs to be an expert, not even the host
- No presentations or lofty speeches (if you need a break from PowerPoints, this is your place!)
- Talk only if you want to, but we want to see your face (unless bandwidth is an issue for you)
- As always, be kind, respectful, and open to other viewpoints
- Recordings will be shared only if everyone agrees to it*
*I’m excited about this one. I won’t share the recordings without everyone’s consent. The idea is to encourage a free-flowing conversation in which people feel empowered to ask or say what’s on their mind without wondering how their comments might be used later. I’ll launch an anonymous poll at the end of each session. The recordings will be posted later only with total consensus.
You can register for any of the sessions (or all of them) via Google Forms. I will cap each session at 12 participants. Here are the registration links: