What’s the secret to a city’s success? Edward Glaeser’s book Triumph of the City makes the case for cities being humanity’s greatest invention. In his book, he cites research indicating that the Second only to January temperature, education is “the most reliable predictor of urban growth, especially among older cities.” While South Bend cannot do anything about January’s 31 degree average temperature, we can do something about education. We also don’t need to wait for a big, slow moving, central authority to do something about it. We can increase the education level through a lot of small, individual, coordinated actions. On of the best ways to learn is by trying out a new skill. Find a group, and join it. Here are just a few groups we’re aware of that are doing interesting things.
Are you interested in starting a new opportunity? Let us know, and we’ll see what we can do at The Branch to accommodate you. Here are some existing opportunities:
A meetup group that uses the Ruby computer programming language. Interested in programming? Drop in on the group. It’s free.
This group of civic-minded folks are working on interesting projects that aim to use publicly available data to create solutions to citizen problems. Some ideas include creating a web site that allows citizens to effectively propose new city ordinances. Another project was making city budgets in Indiana more transparent. All types of skills are needed. All you have to have is an interest in contributing to the effort. The group uses Facebook to organize, but the group is a public one. Hack Michiana is a free event.
These weekend-long events are a fun way to join up with a team of entrepreneurs and join a friendly competition to start a company. Many of the efforts only last the weekend. Some last longer. That’s up to the participants. There’s a Startup Weekend coming to Michiana on November 15-17th. Mark your calendar. There’s a cost to offset the expenses of this event.
Do you have a book you’ve been interested in reading? Would you like the peer pressure of getting together with some folks once a week to share insights? The book Startup Communities is on the short list for us right now. Who wants to work through it as a group?
Keep an eye out for the South Bend Science Cafe, coming as soon as September.
Do you travel a lot? Join Automobile University. Listen to books while you travel. There are many good non-fiction audiobooks available from the St. Joseph County Library. Not the driver? You can get ebooks, too. If you already have a library card, you don”t even have to go into the library to get them, there’s an Overdrive application you can get for your mobile device.
Your New Idea
Want to form a new group? Let us know. Or, leave a comment on the blog post.