I hope our next mayor makes Charlotte the most CONNECTED city – physically, digitally, and socially – in the world. Yes, in the world.
CONNECTED, physically, by a network of transit paths and myriad transportation modes. I’d work toward a city where you can travel from one side of the city to the other safely, reliably and relatively efficiently regardless of your financial means or carbon footprint consciousness. In my ideal city, you would be able to bike from Steele Creek to Dilworth, ride a bus from Plaza Midwood to Ballantyne, and drive from Myers Park to Huntersville without spending your dinner budget trying to get there. And, if you were super ambitious or an ultra runner, you could run from corner to corner on a network of sidewalks.
CONNECTED, digitally, to the resources and riches of our community. I believe digital inclusion is critical to making sure that we don’t leave anyone behind, from those with housing insecurity to an aging workforce that will need new skills in a rapidly changing economy. The city can support the installation of high-speed Internet and fiber. The city can also use job-training dollars to help people improve their computer literacy. I would also encourage nonprofits to re-evaluate how they use technology to deliver information and provide services. I believe extraordinary things are possible when we leverage technology to connect problems with solutions and people with each other.
CONNECTED, socially, where we have a shared understanding of our history from each other’s perspectives and a shared vision of the future, a future where we can all survive and thrive in this city. It will take courage and vulnerability to reach a shared understanding of the past. It is necessarily uncomfortable to update certain stories with new truths. But, from a place of deeply authentic human connectedness, I believe we can honestly address really big issues like public education, affordable housing, strategic growth and continued economic development. When we are connected to one another, it will be easier to consider what is best for all of us. With intentional conversation, inclusive planning, and creative place making, this is easily within reach.
Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to hear from all of the major candidates for mayor of Charlotte.
As a community, we are mostly on the same page about what the pressing issues are, but not necessarily what the solutions ought to be. I hope the candidates will share what they think is necessary, but also what they think is possible.
What I will be listening and looking for is boldness and courage.
In the meantime, I would love to hear your vision for Charlotte.
See you tomorrow night!