Considering the power of ‘place’ at the same time as we talk about our community identity

If you’ve been following The Minot Voice recently, you may have noticed a thread focusing on the idea of ‘place’ and its larger significance in our lives. It’s a lesser-researched topic (certainly in the realm of smaller cities), but the findings that are emerging suggest there are larger patterns in the world around us and the factors that shape our lives.

Below you’ll find a speech by Malcolm Gladwell. If you don’t know him, Google him. He’s a remarkable guy who’s written a bunch of remarkable books. In this speech, he introduces two ideas — with strong connections to place — that are likely at play in our lives and communities.

  1. The Law of Criminal Concentration. It says that in a community a small percentage of places contribute a vast majority of crime.
  2. Coupling. Certain behaviors and outcomes are closely connected to place. What’s going on around us is much less random than we realize.

Now, the examples illustrated by Mr. Gladwell are compelling, but they’re also overwhelmingly negative. Is it possible that opposite trends hold for positive examples, too? Is it possible that ‘place’ may set our lives up with advantages and opportunities we don’t fully acknowledge and understand?

I would suggest, yes. And as we enter into an agreement (possibly) to help us develop one-brand and unified identity for Minot, I think we’d be wise to attempt to understand what are the larger trends at work behind the lives lived in the Magic City. I’d wager that they’re largely positive and closely tied to extraordinary upward mobility — compared to other places. If you have ideas on how we can prove who we really are — through data — I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s the video.

Josh Wolsky

Alderman for Minot, Editor and Publisher of TheMinotVoice, Developer of the #ForMinot Network,  Co-Host of #GoodTalk Minot, Advocate and Friend of the Souris River, and clearly -- all things #MakeMinot.

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