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Blogging as city building

This past week I received 2 separate invitations to talk at events about blogging as a form of city building.

The first is a Pecha Kucha talk being held here in Toronto on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015. If you’ve never heard of the Pecha Kucha movement, it’s basically all about rapid fire presentations. Each person gets 20 slides and 20 seconds for each one. 

Here are the details for the upcoming Toronto event:


The second event is being held in Ottawa in the new year. I’ll write more on that closer to the date when I have more information to share.

I haven’t yet figured out exactly what I’m going to talk about at each event, but I am starting to think about a few things.

When I started writing this blog, it was intended simply as an outlet for my own city-related – and also personal – thoughts. Ultimately, the blog evolved into having its own mission, which is to promote the building of beautiful, sustainable, and globally competitive cities. And so clearly in my mind blogging was and is in fact a form of city building.

But writing is vastly different than the kind of city building I do for a living. During the day I worry about things like rental rates, building setbacks, bulkhead locations, parking counts, and a bunch of other fun stuff.

The two are certainly related, but the latter feels a lot more tangible. The result is spaces that people will occupy and buildings that will have some sort of impact on the overall built environment.

But as you all know, city building is a lot more than just bricks-and-mortar. It is political. It is emotional. It is subjective. It is ego-driven. And it is so many other things. Because of this, words do have a role to play in shaping the cities we live in. And hopefully my words are having some kind of positive impact.

At the same time, I see myself as simply part of a larger set of trends that are happening in both city building, as well as in many other sectors. Trends around transparency, decentralization, and the democratization of information.

Technology today allows us to connect at zero marginal cost. And that is empowering people like me to self-publish, people to crowdfund real estate development projects, people to crowdsource community feedback for projects, and to do many other exciting things that weren’t possible before. Without this blog, most of you reading this right now would have absolutely no idea who I am.

So I guess I kind of do know what I’m going to talk about.

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