Cultural Diversity in Columbia: It’s A Good Thing!

Next up on the agenda for the Downtown Plan?  The drafting of a Cultural Master Plan for Downtown, as required in the legislation.  Hired for this purpose at the developer’s expense is Lord Cultural Resources, the largest cultural planning firm in the world, with an impressive resume that includes The World Trade Center Memorial Museum in New York, the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

As part of the process, a Cultural Advisory Committee has been meeting extensively with the community to get their ideas on what that plan should look like.  Since September, there have been two large community-wide public meetings and four focus groups (one each for teens, young professionals, parents of young children, and older adults).  Following that, a survey went out via e-mail so that anyone who is interested can participate.

The survey is here, and the message that went out with it reads:

It is important that your voice be included to ensure that a wide range of ideas and perspectives are shared with the Advisory Committee.  Please share this link with your organization’s database as well as family, friends and others who might be interested in providing their input.

For me and Columbia 2.0, it is truly exciting to see the nuts and bolts of the plan coming together.  But, it seems not everybody views this as an opportunity for inclusion.

Recently, I witnessed an individual from the Columbia Association camp dismiss the Cultural Advisory Committee’s efforts to reach out to the community as disingenuous, after a community member had expressed excitement about receiving the survey to participate.

This attitude is really disheartening.  We should be encouraging community participation, not repressing it. Can’t we expect someone associated with CA to promote involvement and diversity in a public plan?

There’s something very wrong when the people who represent our community question the value of participating in it.

- Brian Dunn
About these ads

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

About columbia2.0

Columbia 2.0 is a thriving grass-roots organization whose mission is to support the Next Generation of Columbia Town Center.

2 responses to “Cultural Diversity in Columbia: It’s A Good Thing!”

  1. Columbia Association says :

    The Columbia Association (CA) has been supportive of the Cultural Advisory Committee and has assisted in disseminating the survey to the community. We are looking forward to continuing our involvement on the committee and working with the community to determine the most effective and inclusive plan for the future of the cultural arts in Columbia.

  2. columbia2.0 says :

    Columbia Association, thank you very much for your response. It means a lot. I’m really glad to hear that you are supportive of the committee’s efforts and are helping spread the word to encourage diversity in community responses. I’m glad to know that one person’s perspective doesn’t represent the whole organization. There will never be 100% agreement on anything, but I think the majority of us embraces a common goal of making Columbia the best it can be. The more we all work together, the faster we’ll get there.

    Thank you for all of your good work, and I look forward to meeting with you to discuss this more.

    – Brian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,426 other followers

%d bloggers like this: