SXSW Forum

Members of the #SXSW419 team - Bob Bianchi, Jennifer Kime, Jodie Perry, Aurelio Diaz and Damien Beauford - lead a breakout session during a public forum at the Renaissance Theatre on Thursday, May 31 as part of the group's listening tour.

This blog is written by one of 15 individuals attending the South By Southwest Conference in Austin with the intention to bring back ideas and to reimagine Richland County. The team has since developed the Mansfield Rising plan, which Richland Source will explain idea-by-idea beginning March 1.  

Over the course of the last 12 months, as the Mansfield Rising plan kicked off and took shape, I was introduced to many high-impact city development tools, which profoundly shifted my view on what is possible for our little city.

My biggest takeaway, however, is the idea of civic capacity.  

cameron haring

Cameron Haring.

If you follow local social media in any way, you have seen the dramatic uptick in discussion of bold new developments that are in the works, being proposed or otherwise bubbling up. The discussion is also becoming more rooted in established best practices for community development.

After many years of building out local civic organizations, non-profits and various public interest groups, we now have the collective ability to mobilize many of these new ideas and direct resources.

This is not the result of the Mansfield Rising plan alone by any means whatsoever, but the development of the plan has been a platform to bring more people into the fold and continue the momentum.

We are achieving the critical mass needed to move things forward, fast and competitively by bringing our decentralized capabilities together.  That is what we have to do has a small city that does not have a well-funded, centrally-planned development group to do it all.

That is what is meant by the idea of civic capacity, and it is very powerful.

Obviously, there is much work to be done in Mansfield in many areas, but the train is rolling, and it will deliver prosperity.  If we can continue to make bold decisions, I think we might have a crack at the Roaring 20’s Round 2.

Now, if we just had a great outbound salesman or woman help us jump off the page.

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South by Southwest Conference Blogger

A global citizen and probably the first millennial. He is a native son with a desire to accelerate the bold regeneration of our city.