By Jana L. Pickart
Jana L. Pickart moved to JP a year ago and currently helps lead the “Resiliency Measures Working Group” at JPNET.
First, Jenny introduced us to the 2011 Resiliency Measures Report. Last fall, a group of us pulled together a series of indicators of “community resilience,” or in other words, our ability to respond to systemic shocks like climate change and rising costs of food and fuel. With indicators such as Orange line ridership and acreage under cultivation, we hope to measure our neighborhood’s capacity to cope with unforeseen changes and track our progress towards increased resiliency. In a pioneering survey, soon-to-be translated into Spanish, Jamaica Plain residents “somewhat agree” that we are a resilient community with a score of 3.4 out of 5 (being most resilient). This report was shared at February’s State of the Neighborhood forum as part of the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (JP NET), a volunteer-led initiative.
To break the ice and get in the spirit, I asked everyone to turn to their neighbor and discuss one thing that makes them feel resilient and one thing that would make them feel even more resilient. The room filled with voices, laughter, and connection.
The next step, besides helping ourselves to more delicious food, was envisioning our future as a neighborhood. Sarah asked us to imagine that 15 years from now everything has worked out beyond our wildest hopes, and we wake up and walk out our back door. What is there? “Imagine floating over JP in a hot air balloon. What do you see on the ground?” Orion asked, and we were off, pens in hand.
Armando reminisced about the dancing he remembers down at Jamaica Pond. “Why don’t we start dancing again?” he said, shaking his shoulders to a beat. Yuya wished for a movie theatre; a place where people can gather for theatre, cinema, dancing. “Make sure they show European movies,” Deb chimed in. Rafael asked us to respect animals and consider going vegetarian. Jen wants to create a directory of JP professionals and hobbyists to boost the neighborhood economy through local connections. Sage advocated for horticulture education in elementary school classrooms.
The room was electric with ideas flowing and rapidly written down on large sticky note pads. Alternating blue and orange markers, we cataloged everyone’s voices and visions. (You can see the unedited list below). As the last person in the circle spoke, we gathered in working groups, sharing ideas and steps forward. What an empowering night!
To chime in, signup for updates (see top right). Come to the next JPNET potluck on Worker Cooperatives. Check the calendar for the next Resiliency Measures Meeting. And “like” us on Facebook.
In the meantime, turn to your neighbor and share your vision for Jamaica Plain’s future. Here is what we recorded verbatim from last week:
food growing everywhere
goats not lawnmowers
no high rises
more parks fewer cars
place for plays and dancing
more security, less crime
open doors and safety
new small businesses – producing necessities, i.e. clothing
age diversity – community center for all ages
owner occupied housing
more triple deckers built
town square – outdoor meeting place
elderly housing in the same place as day care
talking in person – no smart phones or texting
moveable feast on Fridays
celebrations, i.e. solstice, equinox
explore wild places with others
return of street cars along Centre St and Washing St, all the way to Roslindale
only jointly owned cars
local rent control
more community gardens
roof top gardens
everyone can speak Spanish
hub of mass transit
all season farmers markets
make alternatives accessible (?)
community training schools
young people feel safe
human waste supplies energy
electric school buses
return of the Stony brook
high school horticulture academy in Franklin Park
community center with solar panels
birds alone in the sky (no airplanes)
too many green jobs
grow seedlings for towns with more land
no big developments
no traffic – horse and buggies
groups singing in the street
free drinks once a week
weekly dances at the Pond
mutual support – be there for each other
avoid eating meat
volunteer based education center
all season greenhouse
solar panels and wind turbines everywhere
parties – street festivals
public street art