I’ve been on a four year long trek to make it to another starting line. We made it, together.
Connections matter - plain and simple. So when a vision of a unique urban space came clearly into my mind those many years ago, a place where connections to one another, ideas, food, art, and technology were put front and center, it would resonate with people. And it has.
We figured that out by talking and listening to a lot of people representing a lot of companies, organizations and ideas. We know this had to be shaped by bringing the community together to give it life and context. They did just that. Our early mantra was: of, by and for the community. It’s our compass and it’s in our name: PHX Commons.
A localized “third space”, PHX Commons is a project that is bigger than the sum of its parts. It’s all about the ripple or the inspiration it sets off.
When a wonderful community member helped come up with the name for the concept, she perfectly captured the essence of it. When you look up the idea of the commons, this is what you might find:
There are a number of important aspects that can be used to describe true commons. The first is that the commons cannot be commodified – if they are, they cease to be commons. The second aspect is that unlike private property, the commons are inclusive rather than exclusive — their nature is to share ownership as widely, rather than as narrowly, as possible. The third aspect is that the assets in commons are meant to be preserved regardless of their return of capital. Just as we receive them as shared gifts, so we have a duty to pass them on to future generations in at least the same condition as we received them.
The Commons is about creating an ecosystem of connectivity in the heart of a downtown urban center paying mindful attention to the diverse people we may have the opportunity to invite in to explore – convention goers, hotel guests, locals, business people, artists, event-goers, university students, entrepreneurs and others. People first. All kinds of people.
In checking back at my earliest writings on PHX Commons, I found that I used a saying from Jane Jacobs at the outset. It really does sum it all up.
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when they are created by everybody.”
There will be several more start lines to come on this most interesting journey to manifest the physical space of this big idea that puts our diverse humanity front and center. Only with lots and lots of people hand-in-hand, leading, following, pushing, pulling and cheering will we get across each line. That’s a journey worth taking. Together.