Risking exchange


Last week, as I was playing the role of MC at a gathering of 170 city officials and the development/building community I found myself with a decision: read the poem I just wrote or sit on it.

We had just spent the afternoon talking about all the initiatives where people who usually bang each other’s heads have started to work together. It’s certainly a work in progress. Relationships have started where there were none. Understanding of each others’ priorities, and the worlds in which each other works has begun. And a sense of the different roles that city hall and the business community play – and the legitimacy of those roles – is also emerging.

As I enjoyed 7 fellow Edmontonians and their Pecha Kucha presentations, some of their words jumped out at me and I found myself organizing them, making meaning of what they were collectively offering us, the audience. As MC, I had one final duty: thank them and pass the microphone over to the last speaker who would thank all participants. I squirmed in anticipation: would I read and share the poem, or leave it in my notebook.

A four letter word kept popping up all day: RISK. I chose to risk it.

Here is what I heard Todd Babiak, Michael Walters, Tai Viola, Ray Watkins, Nancy Domijan, Simon O’Byrne and Tegan Martin Drysdale say (their words, my assembly into a poem):

Building Edmonton Together Poem

I offered myself and what I see. That’s what we do to make our cities as good as they can be.

Where are you stretching beyond your comfort zone to pursue what you love to do?


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This post is part of Chapter 8 – The City Making Exchange. Here are some plot helpers of Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities, the book I am sharing here while I search for a publisher:

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