• Ongoing coronavirus / COVID-19 discussion: how is the pandemic affecting your community, workplace, and wellness? 🦠

    Working from home? So are we. Come join us! Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no social distancing.

Bowling Alone

Are you civic minded?

  • Yes. I've got my hand in the workings of a local civic group.

    Votes: 12 46.2%
  • No. Who has the time? Who really cares?

    Votes: 10 38.5%
  • I have too many membership cards to count.

    Votes: 3 11.5%
  • I just got out of Gitmo. I'll show you "civic" minded.

    Votes: 1 3.8%

  • Total voters
    26
  • Poll closed .

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
25
Well, as I find myself getting older and wiser, I find myself becoming involved in community groups and such. Do a lot of people here go out of thier way to get involved in some of the traditional civic organizations? I've followed my grandfather's footsteps and joined the Knights of Columbus a couple of months back, I'm a member of the local AOH, get involved in the political process and campaigns and will be joining a board of directors for my school's alumni association. Or have these organizations seen thier best days years ago? Where is my time best spent (besides at a bar) for the civic good? I've always thought that being a good planner means being civic minded and involved...I guess that's why the work suits me.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Rotary - for the country club lunch
Elk's - for the free beer one of the barmaids gives me
Used to do Kiwanis due to force.

I've presented to every civic club in the region or so it seems.

Geogplanner - did you read "Bowling Alone" by Robert Putnam? I'm halfway through "Better Together - Restoring the American Community".
 
Messages
101
Points
6
GeogPlanner said:
Well, as I find myself getting older and wiser, I find myself becoming involved in community groups and such. Do a lot of people here go out of thier way to get involved in some of the traditional civic organizations? I've followed my grandfather's footsteps and joined the Knights of Columbus a couple of months back, I'm a member of the local AOH, get involved in the political process and campaigns and will be joining a board of directors for my school's alumni association. Or have these organizations seen thier best days years ago? Where is my time best spent (besides at a bar) for the civic good? I've always thought that being a good planner means being civic minded and involved...I guess that's why the work suits me.
Being a baby boomer and in that generation which experienced its adolescence in the 1960s I spend a lot of time thinking about the role of the various civic clubs. The Moose Lodge sponsored my little league team, and the Masons, Shriners, Optimists, Elks, and other such clubs were a constant, though diminishing part of my neighborhood as a child.

As a teen I thought they were silly, pompous, and served the purpose of reinforcing a very reactionary local culture. With distance and hindsight I can see the role they played in holding together the local civil culture.

Having skipped two entire generations here, I'm not sure how much rebuilding the historic clubs can do. But I miss them, and if they can't reassert themselves, I wish some new set of similar organizations could emerge to carry on the good points of their legacy.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,701
Points
71
If I recall correctly Putnam said that America had experienced another period of social duress during the late 19th century where we had millions of immigrants who came from myriad cultures and that the country responded by forming large numbers of service organizations around that time to both help people transition into the culture and also to provide valuable community services. I agree with much of what he says in the book, but I'm not sure Putnam has entirely correctly diagnosed all of the causes of the social ills we face. I believe he correctly identified a number of ways communications technology has adversely affected our society(ies) such as tv, but do not think he recognized many of the positive contributions this technology has made (like Cyburbia :-} ) which have in some senses expanded our scope of 'community' and interaction with others.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Before I started this 2.5 hours of daily commuting, I had time for membership in service clubs and service on boards of other nonprofits.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,487
Points
41
I'm a dues paying member of our neighborhood association, but I stay an arm's length away from them to avoid any conflicts of interest (or appearance of same); I am on the board of our main street program; I am on the board of our urban enterprise association (both of which are volunteer, as opposed to ex officio positions).

I'm not a member of any social clubs or service clubs. (I don't think they'd have me even if I wanted to join ;-))
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,908
Points
57
It's tough for me right now, because I have a long commute (which sucks a alot of time) and where I live now is not very conducive to resident interaction.

But in a week we are moving to a smaller muni. and I expect to get involved in some groups - neighborhood associations, historic districts, etc. I will start with one and see how it goes.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Maister said:
but I'm not sure Putnam has entirely correctly diagnosed all of the causes of the social ills we face. I believe he correctly identified a number of ways communications technology has adversely affected our society(ies) such as tv, but do not think he recognized many of the positive contributions this technology has made (like Cyburbia :-} ) which have in some senses expanded our scope of 'community' and interaction with others.
Putnam did not set out to diagnose all of the causes of social ills. He was only looking at the causes of the decline of "community" as defined by interpersonal interaction, involvement and other activities that build social capital. If I recall correctly his findings suggest that urban sprawl and the long commute had far less of an impact on social capital then the impact of home entertainment, particularly television. He remains cautiously optimistic that the internet and e-mail will help reverse the trend of personal isolationism. There does appear to be a countertrend particularly in suburbs where megachurches have grown because people are looking for "community" in a sterile spread out automobile-oriented subdivisions. Putnam is well versed in urban planning issues as is evident in "Better Together" in which he provides case studies that demonstrate the power of social capital to make positive change in a communities quality of life.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Gedunker said:
....I'm not a member of any social clubs or service clubs. (I don't think they'd have me even if I wanted to join ;-))
What he said. :b:
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,443
Points
34
I was a Lion until I moved and the nearest club is 18 miles away.
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
I actually think about this a lot. Or at least used to before Baby Downtown got here. I loved being active on our local section of the APA board, and was on the conference committee, until I became pregnant. Now I feel a tad stretched between church obligations and my weekly planning/town board meetings, and our Comp Plan Advisory Committee is swinging into action soon.

Once I'm done being barefoot and pregnant, and the kids are a little older, then I imagine my life will be a blur of PTA, Boy Scouts, Soccer Mom-ness, and going on class trips. sigh. I just can't imagine where I would fit in anything else.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I don't do any communty stuff that isn't mandated by my job. I am exposed to enough meetings at work, when I am off work I prefer to do stuff that makes me happy and as selfish as it sounds, volunteering for civic groups doesn't make me happy. However, I would entertain offers to do something planning related like serve on some type of a committee or become a Plan Commissioner.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Does anyone belong to a card group, bowling league, have game nights, have a place to frequently "hang out"?

Let's keep in mind that Cyburbians are not representative of the general public.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,701
Points
71
Budgie said:
Does anyone belong to a card group, bowling league, have game nights, have a place to frequently "hang out"?

Let's keep in mind that Cyburbians are not representative of the general public.
Yes, but consciously so. Since I am predisposed to introversion as it is, I definately need the contact. I confess that when I read Bowling Alone the thesis hit home. If left to my inclinations, I would probably evaporate in front of a computer screen playing 'Medeival Total War'. I might bother to go to the fridge every couple days or maybe the bathroom on Tuesdays but that's about it....
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
Budgie said:
Does anyone belong to a card group, bowling league, have game nights, have a place to frequently "hang out"?
My MIL and I kick the pants off Rob and his dad in Pinochle on a weekly basis. :D
 

Jen

Cyburbian
Messages
1,704
Points
26
Volunteer? For the past 8 years that has been the only kindof work I have done! Once i get back in the employment line, waitaminnit I am in the employment line, I am sure to continue the passion. :)
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
Budgie said:
Does anyone belong to a card group, bowling league, have game nights, have a place to frequently "hang out"?

Let's keep in mind that Cyburbians are not representative of the general public.
I am in a softball league and we have been playing for about 7 or 8 years. We also have a group of guys that gets together for every Monday Night Football game and we also meet pretty regularly to play Mexican Train Dominoes. As for hanging out I usually hang out at the Irish Bar that we play softball for.
 

Floridays

Cyburbian
Messages
769
Points
21
My former boss LOVED the book "Bowling Alone" and made the entire staff read it.
I used to be extremely active in a number of orgs back home. Since coming to FL about 2 years ago, I haven't really been active in much. Am planning on volunteering for a wildlife refuge org whenever I get off my butt and do it! :-\
 

AubieTurtle

Cyburbian
Messages
894
Points
21
I'm active in my neighborhood association, working on creating a new splinter association because my neighborhood of surface parking lots is now becoming a neighborhood of high rise condos, also working on starting a neighborhood watch, am on my condo's board of directors, and participate in the neighborhood drinking club (ok, that's not an actual club but we do have regularly planned events so it might as well be a club).

I'd love to be able to get involved in something like Wednesday night trivia at the local bar but since my ten minute shoe leather commute recently became an hour long subway/automobile commute, I can't fit anything else in. :( Hopefully I get reassigned to a long term project near home instead of this series of short projects in the sprawlburbs. If that happens, the pub dwellers will have to bow before my superior trivia knowledge!
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,174
Points
51
My group is part of a religious group that helps civic causes. I am part of a young adults group for my church, but we have done a few projects to help raise money, or we have volunteered our time to a charity or other support group.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Too antisocial/solitary-and I have enough night meetings. I am president of my tiny (9 homes) townhouse association, but because that involves grousing about not having enough money,m I can't say I enjoy that very much :(
 
Messages
1,264
Points
22
Gedunker said:
I'm a dues paying member of our neighborhood association, but I stay an arm's length away from them to avoid any conflicts of interest (or appearance of same)...

I currently work for a State agency that doesn't have jurisdiction within Baltimore City. If I lived in the suburbs, I would have to keep low or refrain altogether.
 
Messages
101
Points
6
Budgie said:
Does anyone belong to a card group, bowling league, have game nights, have a place to frequently "hang out"?

Let's keep in mind that Cyburbians are not representative of the general public.
Joe's Coffee is a block from my house at Flat Shoals and Glenwood in Atlanta, so both
my wife and I hang out there when we get a chance.

On a more political note, I'm in East Atlanta Community Association and the Sylvester Cemetery Foundation. On a more remote level (where I don't have to actually go to meetings), I'm in Congress for a New Urbanism, League of American Bicyclists, Southern Bicycle League, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Atlanta Preservation
Center, and Oakland Cemetery Foundation.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,945
Points
40
I have the book sitting on my desk at work, but have yet to read it.

I was much more active in the community before my divorce, and all the crap that happened in my life last year.

That being said, I'm still active in the NH Planners Association and Norethern New England Chapter of APA. I was also part of a steering committee of sorts for the Concord 20-20 Vision Project .
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
Budgie said:
Double deck, no 9's?
That's the only fun way to play!!!

In college we used to have a wednesday night Euchre tournament.

G.P. - You've inspired me! This morning I talked to the Park Coordinator for The Crossings (local park) and I think I volenteered myself to work on starting up a "Friends of the Park".

AND if anyone else has worked on/with/for a "Friends of" organization, can you PM me with advice??? :D
 

AubieTurtle

Cyburbian
Messages
894
Points
21
Larry Felton Johnson said:
Joe's Coffee is a block from my house at Flat Shoals and Glenwood in Atlanta, so both
my wife and I hang out there when we get a chance.

On a more political note, I'm in East Atlanta Community Association and the Sylvester Cemetery Foundation. On a more remote level (where I don't have to actually go to meetings), I'm in Congress for a New Urbanism, League of American Bicyclists, Southern Bicycle League, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Atlanta Preservation
Center, and Oakland Cemetery Foundation.
But do you go to your NPU meetings?
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
I actually wrote letters trying to get on local boards where I live with no success. (I'm not an elite businessman, or a political bedfellow) You think a municipal planner could get on some board - planning, zoning, historic, parks, conservation, whatever. I wouldn't want something with too much of a time commitment with the kids though.

I still have just a vague and fuzzy notion of what Rotary Clubs, Knights of Columbus, Elks, Bloods, Crips, etc. actually do.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Seabishop said:
I still have just a vague and fuzzy notion of what Bloods, Crips, etc. actually do.
Why, illustrate capitalism in its purest form :)
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
Seabishop said:
I still have just a vague and fuzzy notion of what Rotary Clubs, Knights of Columbus, Elks, Bloods, Crips, etc. actually do.
Rotary is more of a professional/civic organization, whereas the Knights and Elks are just big boozers, right? :p
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Downtown said:
Rotary is more of a professional/civic organization, whereas the Knights and Elks are just big boozers, right? :p
You are correct, I'm in both Rotary and Elks.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,701
Points
71
Downtown said:
Rotary is more of a professional/civic organization, whereas the Knights and Elks are just big boozers, right? :p
Oh how true!!!!HAHAHAHAH!!!! :p :p :p :-#
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
Messages
1,361
Points
23
I am the assistant director of the local APA chapter; the secretary of a professional civic organization; and I am a voluntary planning consultant to my parents' neighborhood association. :)
 
Messages
101
Points
6
AubieTurtle said:
But do you go to your NPU meetings?
I didn't see this post earlier.

Not regularly enough to vote under NPU-W's rules. I was actually talking to my wife about us attending regularly enough to keep my voting rights current.

I've been in serious meeting burnout since I lived in the SAND area, and had a somewhat contentious relationship with a number of people who were personal friends, but not on the same page with me with respect to the needs of the neighborhoods. I publicly resigned as chair of the Economic Development Committee, which was not taken well, and I receded into more specifically street and block level work.

EACA's a different sort of organization, so I'm softening on my aversion to meetings, and have been easing myself into EACA. The next step is going to NPU meetings so I can reenter the wonderful world of variances for garages and the subtlties of the corner lot fence.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
I serve on the City's Planning Comission and hope not to remain the only one that is pro Smart Growth (Whatever that means).
I am an assistant Scoutmaster for my son's troop. I might be the Scoutmaster next year.
I teach at least one merit badge class on Citizenship in the Community, Auto Mechanics, Cycling, Disabilities Awareness, and Emergency Preparedness a month.
I take kids on two city cycling rides a week where I teach them "Effective Cycling" techniques. One is a night ride.
I fix up old bikes for poor kids and give them all the equipment they need to support the bike, like helmets, tools, gloves, pumps...
I serve as a planner in a disadvantaged community.

And, yes I'm STILL a registered Republican. :)
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
As a card carrying "knight of columbus", I take objection to the fact that you claim we are all just "boozers" We also gamble, smoke, and assist in intoxicating the clergy.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,908
Points
57
el Guapo said:
[snip]...And, yes I'm STILL a registered Republican. :)
A compassionate conservative????....you are indeed an endangered species. ;-)
___________

Seriously, though, I applaud the work you listed. I'm glad you tooted your own horn on this one. :)
 

monkeyflower

Cyburbian
Messages
58
Points
4
GeogPlanner said:
Well, as I find myself getting older and wiser, I find myself becoming involved in community groups and such. Do a lot of people here go out of thier way to get involved in some of the traditional civic organizations?
I feel a little young (grad student) to be joining the Rotary, et al, though I'll admit to having looked into the Masons, the Grange (grew up in farm country), and some friends of mine are considering founding a chapter of the Druids.

Less traditionally, I sit on the Board of the Ann Arbor student housing co-ops, which I've been a member of for several years. Also, I find myself in the plotting stages of a "good planning" group of U-Michigan students and professors and area residents--some of us decided that, if we were going to be bumping into each other at all of the city/county's major planning events and speaking the same smart growth-y rhetoric, we may as well do it in a coordinated fashion. As the overlap of these two, some of the co-opers are looking into forming student-oriented neighborhood associations to counter the influence that the traditional--and very student-hostile--neighborhood associations exert on the City Council.
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
monkeyflower said:
Less traditionally, I sit on the Board of the Ann Arbor student housing co-ops, which I've been a member of for several years. Also, I find myself in the plotting stages of a "good planning" group of U-Michigan students and professors and area residents--some of us decided that, if we were going to be bumping into each other at all of the city/county's major planning events and speaking the same smart growth-y rhetoric, we may as well do it in a coordinated fashion. As the overlap of these two, some of the co-opers are looking into forming student-oriented neighborhood associations to counter the influence that the traditional--and very student-hostile--neighborhood associations exert on the City Council.
You go, young radical! Fight The Man. He (The Man) (aka - Zoning Administrator) screwed us back in the day in Geneseo also. :)
 
Top