Episode 23 – Co-creating the city you want to live in, with Ben Orcutt
Attention! (did that get your attention?)
We’ve got some big things we’re working on for this podcast. Would you take a moment to give us your brutally honest input? This Go Cultivate! project is about finding solutions to your real-world challenges. If you’d answer a few quick questions in this Google Form, we promise it’ll move us closer to making all of your wildest (podcast) dreams come true. It’ll take you maybe 5 minutes, but that’s a small price for realizing your wildest dreams.
Okay, thanks for humoring us. On to the podcast…
If you’ve followed this podcast for a while, you may have heard us talk about five key groups of community leaders, and the ways their roles differ and interact. We’ve had discussions with city administrators, elected officials, economic development leaders, city staff, and that particularly diverse group of folks we call the implementers. (If you’re a follower of the Strong Towns movement, you have heard these folks referred to as “strong citizens,” people who care.) These are the people taking a leadership role in their community in a way that is outside of city government. They are the glue that holds the community together, and an immensely valuable resource for city leaders to tap into.
Our guest in this episode is someone who is starting to straddle these lines a bit—but he’s an implementer, a "strong citizen," first and foremost.
Ben Orcutt is a bike-advocate-turned small business owner and candidate for city council of Anderson, Indiana. He joins (one-time Anderson resident) Jordan Clark on this podcast to discuss the importance of believing in your neighborhood, how cities could help clear hurdles for citizens who want to contribute, and what we stand to gain by focusing on authenticity and transparency in local government.
Ben has spent years demonstrating—through his neighborhood businesses as well as his advocacy and volunteer work—what is possible when you invest your time making repeated small bets on your community. After being approached by many of his neighbors and peers to take that approach to city government, Ben is now running for a seat on Anderson’s City Council. Ben is the first to tell you he’s still learning, that he doesn’t possess all the answers. But he is serious about asking questions, about observing local needs, and about trying new things out incrementally to see if they make a difference. And if you ask us, that’s exactly the kind of person we need in positions of city leadership.
Check out Ben's campaign page here.
The Go Cultivate! podcast is a project of Verdunity.
(Music in this episode is from Custodian of Records and Tours.)