#MoreWomen

Elle UK used photoshop to make a profound point- Where are the Women?

They used pictures of leadership, arts and business and took out all the men. It becomes clear that far too often women are either not represented or represented by one sole woman- despite being over half of the world’s population!

Which always makes me wonder? What would the world be like with more women making the decisions?

Elle asked:

“Why aren’t there #morewomen making it? There is room for more of us at the top. One woman’s success makes EVERY WOMAN STRONGER! More women for #MoreWomen”

Their film, by Alex Holder and Alyssa Boni is pointed. But maybe skip the comments, you know how the internet can get…

Amazon HQ2

Amazon is looking to grow, and they are putting a call out for bids for a new home to grow in. I think we’re about to see a massive push from cities all over for this new headquarters which will create 50,000 new jobs, and be an economic anchor institution in its new home. I also think we’ll see lots of opinions for and against bringing Amazon into new cities over the next few weeks as well. Massive influx of investment and growth of any kind, when done incorrectly, leads to massive influx or exacerbation of inequality. And the discussion of how to invite Amazon, and should cities invite Amazon are worth having.  If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how cities woo Amazon, without hurting their current residents and businesses.

CityLab makes an interesting point about bringing Amazon to the heartland (and we support that idea for a whole host of reasons). But regardless of where Amazon sets up shop, we want to throw a suggestion out for how.

Amazon, fill a vacant mall or two! America has malls, (emptied with some help from Amazon…). These large spaces used to serve as anchors for communities growth, but as they dry up and stay vacant, many are serving as anchors dragging down their surroundings. But many would be perfect for your new headquarters campus. just to name a few of the reasons Amazon should consider filling empty American malls for a campus:

  • They are usually located near great transportation, given that the heyday of malls coincides with the heyday of sprawl
  • They are affordable for acquisition because there are few other uses for the space outside of large office buildings and some other fabulously innovative ideas.
  • Cities don’t have to give away the public coffers to help you reactivate/renovate  currently vacant spaces.
  • Malls come with ample parking so consider that fight about traffic/parking- over
  • Reactivating a mall for a headquarters would be so innovative it would give Amazon some wonderful PR. (and set a replicable standard for other large employers wishing to build campuses)

 

August is for Neighbors

August has been a busy month for Root + Branch. We sponsored and helped organize two neighborhood block parties for the South Side of Columbus, Ohio, and boy are we bounce house-ed out!

Root + Branch gets involved with projects like this because creating spaces for community members to gather, meet each other and celebrate the neighborhood are vital to creating connected, thriving neighborhoods. Enjoy these pictures of all the fun we had. And come join us next time!

 

 

One party was put on in partnership with Restoration Hope, South Side Thrive Collaborative and the United Way. The second event was hosted in partnership with the Schumacher Place Civic Association, with help from the United Way. All the thanks to every volunteer, participant, vendor, non profit and attendee for helping put on these fantastic events!

Three Startup Lessons

We’re only a few years into our mission, and so in many ways we still view ourselves as a start-up. We live that lean startup life with small but strong committed team, including members working from other cities, and advisors giving their expertise in their own time. We work in office spaces and coffee shops, and we have an office dog that serves as hour HQ mascot! We are always looking to other start-ups, to share best practices and lessons learned. And when we find a couple of good tips, we like to share!

Over at Ellevate, a network of boss ladies collaborating and supporting each other (and a fellow Benefit corps, B Corps shout out!), Moha Shah a ScaleUp Advisor at TiE-Boston shared three lessons she learned at a Start Up. In essence she found that skills, founders and learning culture make a difference!

Read more on the Ellevate Blog.

 

Putting Art on the Map

We LOVE innovative ways to engage communities with art. And Columbus, Ohio is in the middle of executing a project just like that!

This-city-literally-put-their-art-on-the-map-59690e5c4c35e__880

The “Sign Your Art” installation features small wooden tiles hung on sign posts around the city. The tiles are created by both professional artists, as well as Columbus residents and visitors. The annual Columbus Arts Festival gave more than 700 visitors the opportunity to paint a tile for free, and sign their work.

These signs are installed all over the city, and when pinned to a Google Map, the sign posts spell: “ART.

This-city-literally-put-their-art-on-the-map-59690e1f859d2__880

 

 

 

I’m with the Banned

I am a big fan of Spotify especially here in the Root + Branch office. Sometimes a good jam session is completely necessary to keep your day moving. Spotify recently released a timely project entitled: I’m with the Banned. And I’m encouraging everyone to give it a listen!

Spotify launched the playlist and original series, as a music initiative to empower artists and fans from different cultures to collaborate. By coupling the music of banned nations with American voices, Spotify is “amplifying the voices of people and communities that have been silenced.”

The series focuses on issues that range from immigration to LGBTQ equality through artist collaborations, performance and original content.

 

As Spotify explains, “The artists featured in “I’m with the banned” break stereotypes, bend genres and approach their art with open ears. Artists include:

  • Kasra V – DJ and record producer hailing from Iran and specializing in techno/deep house, he hosts a bi-weekly radio show on NTS Radio and is a curator of the Dance playlist for 22Tracks
  • Moh Flow – Singer/songwriter from Syria who co-produces with his brother, AY. While residing in Dubai and traveling the world, the 25-year-old has had the chance to harness his music making skills to release music consistently over the Internet.
  • Waayaha Cusub – A Somali musical collective that organized the first international music festival in Somalia’s capital since the start of the civil war in the early 90s.
  • Methal – Yemeni singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who learned to play by watching American YouTube videos.
  • Sufyvn – Acclaimed producer/beatmaker whose electronic tracks blend American hip-hop and traditional Sudanese music.
  • Ahmed Fakroun – Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Libya and pioneer of modern Arabic Music, influenced by Europop and French art rock.”

 

Happy Listening!!!

 

-L

Chaffetz finds out D.C. is expensive.

You might have heard recently,  congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3) suggested in an interview with The Hill,  that Congressmen should receive a housing stipend of $2,500 per month (or $30,000 per year). He reasoned, that “D.C. is one of the most expensive places in the world, and I flat-out cannot afford am mortgage in Utah, kids in college and second place in the here in D.C.”

For many of DC natives, this comment sounded quite tone-deaf, as residents making far less than US Congressmen, with far less power than US Congressmen are barely holding on to their housing as it is. Not to mention, U.S. Congressmen, like Chaffetz have refused to give Washington, D.C. full power in the U.S. Congress, despite Congress having full control over D.C.’s budget. Members of Congress earn a $174,000 annual salary, which is nearly twice as much as the DC Metro’s median household income.

The recognition of the skyrocketing housing costs, without any recognition of the impact on DC residents felt like an extra striking blow. Enterprise pointed out that:

“Now that these Members of Congress understand that the rental housing market has changed significantly since they were first starting out on their own, they should take a hard look at the housing needs of their constituents. Members of Congress who truly understand and care about housing affordability in this country must reject the president’s budget proposals and instead provide robust funding for housing and community development programs.”

Read more from Enterprise, about actions we can take to help preserve affordable housing for average D.C. residents.

Guide to not being Complicit with Gentrification

I know this article says its a guide for “artists” but actually many of the tips are valuable for anyone who is at risk of being a “gentrifier.” Not sure if that applies to you there’s a quick way to think about it: Did you grow up in the neighborhood you’re living in?  If not, now ask yourself: are the people that did grow up here being displaced because of affordability or housing stock? If yes, you are likely living in a gentrifying (or gentrified) neighborhood.

But that doesn’t mean you have to be a part of the problem. In fact, there are ways you can be part of the solution, immediately.

Read on. It’s worth it.

Let me summarize it for you though:

  1. put your privilege to work for others.
  2. Respect the history of your surroundings.
  3. do not assume your perspective or experience is universal or most important.

 

Tell us how you mitigate gentrification in your neighborhood.