Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, hit the nail on the head when he shared with us his thoughts on the value of the Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference: it’s a chance learn from each other but, perhaps just as importantly, it is an opportunity to remember that we aren’t alone in this work. Together, we’re part of a movement to combat vacant, abandoned, and other problem properties to create strong, stable neighborhoods.
Listen to Mayor Buttigieg talk about his experience at the Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference; then learn more on our website and register to be part of RVP when it comes to Detroit, Michigan, from May 19-21, 2015.
“When you come in as a Mayor you figure out very quickly that you need allies, you need friends, and you need thought partners. And a conference like this is a great opportunity to win allies and to engage thought partners to find out what’s being done out there that we don’t know about, and to stress test what we’re doing to make sure we’re not crazy. Just being able to be part of a wider community of people who care about these issues and are dealing with it is extremely valuable not just to me, but to my team.
“A lot of my colleagues are out here, too, because these connections are incredibly helpful. They stimulate our imagination about what could be done. Some of my colleagues went out last night to have a look at some these pop up gardens that the Horticulture Society is doing here in Philly. What a great idea and exactly the kind of thing we’d love to be able to emulate in a place like South Bend. We’re sharing some of the things we’ve tried that might come as news to others.
“When you’re in a city that’s really absorbed with a number of challenges, sometimes it can feel like you’re the only ones dealing with this issue. So to spend time in a broader community of people who are all dealing with a similar issue and a lot of whom have been very successful, it just really changes the equation for us. It gives us a chance to realize we’re part of a movement and not all alone out there trying to deal with this problem.
“It’s not a South Bend problem. It’s not a Philadelphia problem. It’s an American problem and working with others on coming up with uniquely American solutions and uniquely 21st Century solutions to these issues is just an exciting space to be in.”