In addition to a great civic architectural concept – which would dovetail quite nicely with my friend Kelly Lynch’s vision for Headwaters Junction – Eric presented an almost larger-than-life vision for downtown Fort Wayne.
Even more interesting to me was to hear Eric talk, in the midst of all this, about a concept that sounded awfully familiar. Eric said that he envisions downtown Fort Wayne as a “marketplace of ideas”. In our age, as he put it, “A city is more than a marketplace of goods. It can now be a marketplace of ideas. It is the true measure of a great city.” Toward that end, he design of Headwaters 2.0 would bring people together and foster “that magical thing that occurs in a city – accidental encounters.”
When he said that, I immediately thought of Nick Arnett, who had introduced me to the concept of placemaking some time ago. He had explained placemaking in much the same way – purposefully designing the physical assets of a place (typically downtown Fort Wayne in our discussions) in a way that structurally encourages chance encounters among creative people – to foster innovation and city vibrancy. Hearing Eric say the same thing made me love the Headwaters 2.0 plan even more.
I also thought of my own business, Founders, where we are building an entrepreneurial community with the same goal in mind. We are purposefully bringing entrepreneurs, creatives, and independents together in our coworking space – and happily watching as they combine forces to bring new things to life. By the way, Founders is located within a stone’s throw of the southwest border of the proposed Headwaters 2.0. We could easily go hang out there on a cool summer evening. We could recharge our batteries with a walk along the riverfront. I could ride my bike on the trails and River Greenway through Headwaters 2.0 to about two blocks from Founders. Sweet!
So, to those who are reading this, I say throw your support behind Headwaters 2.0 and help create that “Marketplace of Ideas” – and a very cool park – here in downtown Fort Wayne!