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Ruth Glendinning
over 1 year Austin, TX, United States Story
#ATXit vs #ATXcite

Since I arrived here in 1980 to attend UT, I’ve had this very powerful connection to Austin. I can’t say it’s love/hate, it’s more like love and not-love-as-much relationship. #ATXcite

Through a series of unexpected events, I ended up living in the Caribbean, returning to Austin in 1987 where there was nothing going on at all. So I went out to California for 2 weeks & stayed for 13 years since I got a rent-controlled apartment by the beach in Santa Monica within a month, so I thought, “I guess I’ll be staying here.” #ATXit

Back to Austin in 2000 when, once again, the economy was slowing down. The good thing about coming back in down times is that people have time to connect and build stories, deepen relationships.  In 2002, since I didn't fit into standard creative definition, I was really excited when Richard Florida came out with The Rise of the Creative Class which made me think 'OK, there’s more to it than being a musician or a writer or a performer of some kind', so maybe there's a place for me as a creative after all. For the first time, those of us who weren’t obvious artists were named as holders of valuable creative fuel that measurably contributed to the economic engine. It felt like Austin was on the edge of creating a breakthrough community social contract in which government and residents could equitably and inclusively co-create the story of what’s next.  #ATXcite

Well, it didn't work out quite as expected. So I kept the vision tucked away in my imagination as I went on with life, marrying, becoming a widow and planning my future outside of Austin. #ATXit

Flash forward to 2017, I've been back from my adventure in Oklahoma for a couple of years and was planning my move to Santa Fe New Mexico, when JC Shakespeare and Austin Texas Baby! entered the scene. I read through the storyline and thought this has the chance to finally address the complexity that is Austin. I’m excited about the story of Austin being told from the perspective of people who lived it and went through the whole arc at the ground level. #ATXcite

Prior to the tech boom, nobody moved here expecting to get rich. People people moved here because they were drawn here energetically, for creative and cultural wealth. People who came here after ’95 or ’96 had a different perspective, saw the financial potential unlocked by tech and the creative energy was a bonus.  Perennials like me didn’t dig in and kind of get into the money game, getting paid in other ways, through all these other forms of capital – time, knowledge, experience and human capital plus others – which, I believe are the things that make a place great.  This has led to a well-documented wealth/opportunity inequality. #ATXit

So there’s a little about the pre-tech and the post-tech Austin. We’re in this very interesting time where we can actually put a value on those other capitals, those other elements that we just give because we want to have a good community and we want to have a quality of life, and know that shared well being is a much better investment – an ego system doesn’t work; an ecosystem is where it’s at. #ATXcite

Bottom line, we might have all come through the same door for different reasons, but I think what draws and keeps people here, is that you can evolve. Humans, especially self-identified creative humans, are naturally drawn to places that encourage growth. What I always tell people is you’ve got to continue to refresh the screen – you have to keep shifting it and asking, “Is this still true? Do I still love this thing as it is, or am I just in the habit of thinking that’s what I do?” 

So is it #ATXit or #ATXcite? Stay tuned to find out how the story unfolds.

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Ideationist // Inclusion Activist // Founder @ATXFabric // Partner @ComunityWealth // Blogger @neighborecon // Originator S.L.O.W. Tech® The Ideationist: “Ideation comprises all stages of a thought cycle, from innovation, to development, to actualization.”I am a social impact entrepreneur and [...]

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