“Surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you” – John Wooden
We just launched the first chapter of Boozestorming in Atlanta and in the South! After hearing about Boozestorming from a friend in St. Louis, Jacey and I started the chapter to bring people together to think through ideas and issues in our city that we may not get to talk about in our day jobs, to connect people who are interested in positive change in Atlanta, and of course, to have a good glass of wine.
We gathered together 10 Atlantans, Almost all who lived within the city but from a range of neighborhoods around town. Our group had a nice range of professions, ranging from public health, software development, to marketing. In the future, we’d love to keep this diversity in the group.
We met at Foster ATL, a co-working space in Old 4th Ward. Old 4th Ward is a hub of change and development in Atlanta, and this was a great location to kick off discussions about the city.
We each came up with 1-2 topics and posted them on a wall to have an at a glance version of what was on everyone’s minds. Then, we chose 3 topics at random to discuss:
- What options are there for vegetarians in Atlanta?
- Places to dance in Atlanta that are fun and different
- ITP versus OTP: the age old question of bridging the city and the suburbs
What we drank (and ate!):
- Hot Toddies
- Red wine
- Local craft beer
What we talked about:
The group gravitated towards more serious topics than the fluffier ones – we by far had the best discussion on ITP versus OTP and what the tension between the suburbs and the city meant for Atlanta.
An overall theme in the discussions was that at times culture can inhibit change in the city, in both good ways and bad. For example, a downside of our love for Southern classics and BBQ can limit options for vegetarians trying to eat out in the city. Misconceptions from both city dwellers and suburbanites further deepens the divide between ITP and OTP.
We talked about the larger systemic issues affecting Atlanta – income inequality, racial segregation, poor urban planning– that contribute to the ITP/OTP divide. No solutions yet, but maybe this can come out of the next Boozestorming session J.
Keep an eye out for our next Boozestorming session, scheduled for February 2nd! We will be doing these once a quarter and are excited about hearing all of your ideas for our city. If you have suggestions or questions about the next storm, feel free to contact us.