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Conference of Neighborhoods (III.)

Peter Sis Conference of the Birds

illustration by Peter Sis, for Conference of the Birds (Attar)

III. The Future of Heights; Conference of Neighborhoods (part three of three parts)

The Lakewood Observer model has been going strong in Lakewood for almost a decade and has proliferated to encompass numerous Observer projects. The Cleveland Heights iteration is seemingly very healthy.  <em>The Cleveland Heights Observer</em> is excellent. I’m delighted the civic journalism and civic self-knowledge project has taken root here.

The following video rambles but does so in intriguing ways.

2013 annual meeting, with speaker Peter Pula of Axiom News from future heights on Vimeo.

Susan and I go out to dinner every Saturday night. Even when we lived in Shaker Heights we were drawn seventy-five percent of the time to the many warm and tasty restaurants of Cleveland Heights, eateries lined up conveniently in the districts of Lee and Coventry and Cedar-at-Fairmount roads. I remarked to my wife that Cleveland Heights seemed to me to have realized the baby boomer boho heaven. By this I mean how it has happened that the equation of liberalism and livability and professional careerism has been answered by the large cohort of fifty and sixty-something empty nesters who have staked their hearts and claim to many neighborhoods in Cleveland Heights.

Of course, I know this characterization is not even half true. I understand at least from my years of summer garage sale questing, traveling through the variety of Cleveland Heights neighborhoods, that my home town is a percolating, teeming, diverse concoction.

I haven’t decided to begin to really train my attention on a compelling civic project, but I am paying attention. The neighborhoods of Cleveland Heights radiate distinctive, positive vibes. Generally, my home town’s people express lots of devotion and commitment. This shines through, and does so even as Cleveland Heights  continues to grapple with all sorts of challenges.

I have an inchoate fantasy about what might happen if there was some forum or mechanism for Cleveland Heights neighborhoods to dialog and confer with each other.

But if we understand the nature of the personality, and the way that it is operative in history–steadily in small increments, intermittently in potent quantities–we shall be ready to take advantage of a singular point when it occurs. There is even a special touch of encouragement in Maxwell’s dictum that the higher the rank of existence the more frequent the occurrence of singular points. (Lewis Mumford, p232, The Conduct of Life)

Nowadays I sense the potential for singular points emerges from long chains of fortuity, something like civic affection, and, daring to know now, and know now for the sake of tomorrow.

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Filed under adult learning, Cleveland, Kenneth Warren