Change or die.

One of the most inaccurate statements ever. Have you noticed how many people don’t change and yet are still there to be obstructionists, naysayers and general blockaders of progress? It’s infuriating. I am going to have to live a long time to outlive them all. They don’t die quickly or easily.

Change or fail?

That’s not necessarily the case either. Obstructionists who hold their groups or communities hostage can (and do) achieve a remarkable level of success in their goal of progress obstruction. This is also infuriating.

Change or become obsolete?

But what happens when the world changes around you and you don’t adapt, don’t act, don’t adjust? How long does it take for obstructionism to catch up with you, to bring you and your cronies down, to reveal you for what you are and to cost your hostages more than they are willing to pay? Texas is changing fast, y’all. I’m working on population projection mapping for a portion of the state and the way things were is no longer a viable option. Nor is copying strategies to address change from here, there, everywhere else that has no similarities to you or your unique situation.

Why can’t we have people bike everywhere like they do in Amsterdam???

Amsterdam is a geographically dense city that has a much cooler climate than Texas and bikes make more sense there as a means of transportation for a number of spatial and cultural factors.

Why can’t we have entitlement programs like Sweden???

Sweden is an ethnically homogeneous country bordered by countries that are also ethnically homogeneous, and cultural values are therefore also more homogeneous. Entitlement programs work better when the program participants are consistently contributing to and benefiting from the program, which is definitely not the situation in America.

Why don’t we have the same downtown program success that this other town has???

They are situated 30 minutes from the center of a major metropolitan area and are able to take advantage of a tax base, income and education levels that are considerably beyond what you can feasibly attain at any point in time (short of a catastrophic event). You are situated an hour and a half from a major metro area and are bordered by two of the poorest counties in the state. When you copy what they do you fail because you haven’t acknowledged the unique capacity of your community and the program failures are then exacerbated by your efforts to run programs based on that town, not on yours.

Old methods, copied methods and strategies straight from a book or website or conference simply will not work unless they are creatively adapted to a specific and unique situation. This is not a time to do what has been done before or to do what is known or proven or comfortable or convenient. This is a time to adapt to constantly changing conditions, to use information and technology that are available like never before and to do for places what we are beginning to do for people: acknowledge and celebrate their uniqueness, work with the strengths and support their weaknesses.

We have become much more accepting of the complexity and unique identity of humans. It’s about time we started doing that for places.