Friday, September 18, 2009

Urbanists: are you "hitting the hustings"?

I had to look that term up on Google to learn what it meant. "Hitting the hustings" is an old English expression that means campaigning and debating for an issue.

We read a lot of ideas about ways to improve St. Louis. There is lots of debate online and in the blogs. However, most citizens don't follow blogs. They get their information by attending meetings or talking with friends and neighbors.

If you're passionate about an issue, are you out there in person making presentations to promote your ideas?


john w. said...

I'm passionate about progressive new infill projects in the city, and have teamed with a local housing corporation and a builder to push an idea for a large stretch of open land in the city. We've met with Missouri Botanical Garden about possibly participating in some capacity, and we hope to graphically introduce our idea to a larger audience soon. I suppose we're hitting the hustings.

Matt M. said...

While this will sound like an anti-democratic point, Rick, most people don't make decisions or influence policy decisions. Many people do not participate at all. You're very correct to say that most people don't get their information from blogs, but does a sizable portion of the politically/civically active population tune into blogs, Urban St. Louis, Metropolis, etc.? I would say yes.

Building a coalition of individuals with a communicable, coherent, and mutually beneficial agenda is the first step.

Rick Bonasch said...

It seems to me that the blogger/urbanist minded group have a good deal of agreement on many of the questions re. historic preservation, urban design, etc.

They need to get in front of neighborhood leaders and associations, business groups, elected officials and others that together do formulate public policy.

John's comment above is a good illustration. He's taking it to the streets and to local community development corporations, where development plans are thought out long ahead of the time there are any offical public meetings, applications, etc.

john w. said...

...and, sometimes the horse can push the cart. I believe this may be a more effective approach to the possibility of converting many LRA lots into useful infill.

Matt M. said...

I completely agree, Rick. I think the coalition is built (and growing).

It is about time to start truly lobbying and getting people into positions where they can effect change.

Michael R. Allen said...

Why is the coalition not already a part of three very logical organizations?

Landmarks Association of St. Louis

Missouri Coalition for the Environment


LisaS said...

I'm actually hitting the hustings in a different way: we're actively working on buying a building to renovate & operate a new business in. If you can't beat them, join them style.