I look at businesses each day and wonder, “What if the management of this company were to create a mandate for employees to optimize and use all the resources that are currently wasted in that business?” And I am not talking about waste in the conventional sense, but waste as in: missed opportunities for education, for recycling waste streams, and for weaving a fabric of interconnectedness with neighboring businesses. For example, when a pizza parlor down the street misses the opportunity to grow its own mushrooms on the discarded leftover pizza boxes, therein lies a “wasted” opportunity. For better or for worse, I am costantly imagining and reimagining these interconnected solutions, remarkable, innovative, and abundant, that can literally transform the way we do business. Recycling waste streams can revolutionize the way we perceive “local.”
Since my background is in Urban Studies, I look at a city (whether it is as small as my hometown of 70K or as large as São Paolo with 20 million) and think, “What a beautiful, elegently intereconnected organism.” I don’t think of cities as static. I see them as dynamic, a compilation, a beautiful medley of human relationships. The city is literally, made up of hundreds of thousands of relationships.
Which brings me to ecology. Ecology is the science of relationships. So too, urban studies is the science of relationships.
When William McDonough said, “Imagine a building like a tree, a city like a forest,” he changed my life, forever. I’ve never been able to look at a city, or for that matter a business in the same way since then.
The business owners within these cities are the visionaries who have the dedication, perseverence, creativity, innovation to reimagine urban economies and take a stand for economies that regenerate nature, rather than depleting it.
These urban wizards, these “citypreneurs” recognize that inherently in cities, in urban communities, in densely populated areas, we have the wealth of resources, an abundance of under-utilized waste streams of today, that will be tomorrow’s goldmines.
"Imagine a building like a tree, a city like a forest."