I’ve just gotten in from a conference day where I’ve been encouraged to make a leap into another step in my business and it just so happens on another Friday night like this in October, six years ago, I made another major leap and put The Black Urbanist out into the world.
Quite simply, I wanted to answer the question how can we make our cities and places better?
Recently, I made a huge physical leap, moving cross-country for the second time in 18 months. I did this because I wanted to start combating my own civic-inferiority complex.
I wanted to be proud and happy with where I lived. I wanted to be somewhere that is vibrant and energetic. I wanted to find people who care a lot about the world we live in and are in positions to make things happen in the world. I wanted to sell my car and walk and bike and take public transit everywhere. And I wanted to be a little bit closer to my home state of North Carolina but with enough distance to have my own space to grow and change. (But I still wanted to get Bojangles when I felt like it). I loved Kansas City, but at the end of the day, I didn’t have all of these elements at the same time. Likewise with remaining in Greensboro or going back to Raleigh.
And this is why I’m now a resident of Washington, DC. I’ve got more thoughts coming on this, but I wanted to take a moment and pause since we are talking a lot about leaps today and it’s the blog’s birthday and I like celebrating things.
I’ve also developed more passions over the past few years. The first is making sure your story is heard, especially if you’re a colleague in the planning, architecture, development and community space.
That’s the mission of Plan to Speak.
I also love patterns, especially on surfaces such as fabric, gift wrap, wallpaper and other products. I also wanted something that no matter what, when it’s seen, it brings people joy.
That’s why I created Kristpattern.
I’ve gone back and forth over the years over whether or not my online space is divisive or healing. It’s been both and either for the past six years, but it is necessary.
It is necessary to point out ways that development harms existing communities.
It is necessary to be unique and highlight that all kinds of people work in the planning and development industry and create some of the most healing and loving spaces in the world.
It is necessary to call for more diversity, equity and inclusion in our workspaces and on our job sites. Because all three are not the same thing.
It is necessary to call out systems of oppression, especially those in our education, law enforcement, financial and other government and social service systems.
It is necessary to get the language and history right when it comes to talking about how we created the environment we live in and how many of us have had no chance but to respond to the environment we live in.
At least until we make a wholesale commitment to building homes, completing streets and ensuring spaces are safe, ethical and efficient for everyone.
Please come visit me over at www.kristenejeffers.com and learn more about all the things I love to do and celebrate with me as I continue to grow and celebrate this milestone. Also, if you want to help me continue this conversation, or want advice about how to create a conversation of your own, there are many ways there for you to plug in and help.
Thank you everyone who continues to read, share and work with me!