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Ruth Glendinning
7mo Austin, TX, United States Story
Handcrafting Sustainable Economy

Back in 2002 I envisioned the Texas Legacy Arts Incubator (TLAI) concept in which cultural legacy/building arts would be used to teach math & science and root sustainable economy. I had been inspired by Richard Florida's book Rise of the Creative Class combined with a summer spent working in San Francisco where it became apparent that creativity was vital fuel for a sustainable economy. 

At the time, East Austin was on the real estate developer's radar, but widespread gentrification was still years away.  As a whole, Austin didn’t have a pressing need to solve an economic problem since technology, with the support of institutional money, was recharging and, by its nature, could drive the economy much faster than any investment in low-to-the-ground generational solution. 

Today, 15 years later, that investment path has directly led to Austin's affordability crisis. Great fortunes have been made in technology, however most of that money has either left city or, if it stays here, remains concentrated in a small number of hands. The real crisis is the loss of opportunity for non-tech residents to contribute to or benefit from an economy that’s quickly leaving them behind. We now truly have an emergency, but there is still no political will to address the changes needed to invest in long-term inclusive, equitable solutions. 

Happily, there is a way forward, but it's from the roots up, using technology to amplify the work of the community at the grassroots level. After all, no tree grows from the top down and, without trees, there is no way to sustain the soil from which flowers and crops (future generations) arise.

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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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