Our cover story this month takes a break from the here and now to travel to the future, one that's envisioned by some really smart people (including a few suggestions from our editors).
Our cover story this month takes a break from the here and now to travel to the future, one that's envisioned by some really smart people (including a few suggestions from our editors). Columbus, in so many ways a youthful city, collectively spends a lot of time thinking and talking about the future, near and distant. Tangled up in those ponderings are questions of who we are to ourselves and to the world outside our city and who we'll be 10, 20 and 50 years from now.
What is certain is this ain't your grandma's Columbus. Or even your dad's. In 2015, Columbus has infectious energy that seems to spring from every corner. "Entrepreneurial" and "collaborative" are buzzwords that are on the brink of "Portlandia"-style parody. It's easy to get caught up in reveling in what's new and what's being attempted. I hope our "Think Big!" cover story walks the line between celebrating that spirit and constructively criticizing it.
The story is anchored by seven "dreamers," the aforementioned super-smart people who offered their vision of what the city needs-not to remain good, but to become great. My two favorites: chef Avishar Barua and architect Michael Bongiorno. (And not just because I have a preoccupation with food and buildings.) What l like about both of them is they are agitating for change, for more, for better-but not in an alienating or cynical way. We could use more voices like Avishar and Michael's in the conversation about our present and our future.
With due respect to Mayor Coleman (upon whose future we speculate here), swagger isn't going to cut it. In fact, too much swagger-positive attitude and pride-is unproductive. I fear our accessibility and low barrier to entry could make us, well, soft. Some efforts-events, organizations, businesses-that wouldn't survive the first cut in other markets not only launch here but receive praise meant to be encouraging but could, ironically, wind up lowering the bar, or at least failing to raise it. That accessibility is part of what makes Columbus so-in a good way!-entrepreneurial and collaborative. But we should acknowledge the potential pitfalls, be honest with each other and resist becoming myopic.
In some circles, this will be considered discouraging or negative. It can be hard to find someone who publicly disagrees with the status quo in Columbus. But in order to grow and improve, we must disagree, debate and, yes, even argue. We love a good experiment here. We applaud our fellow citizens when they try something new. Let's do each other a favor and push and tug and pull those experiments into something better. That is collaboration at its best.