I’ve seen your town history video. What’s in the sequel? ? ? ?

Lots of towns have a history video. What I want to see is your “now” video, and then I want to see your “future” video. 

You know the kind of town history videos I mean. The ones with an announcer narrating the story while historical photos show your town the way it used to be. Of course, these things vary in quality. Some are really good and draw you into the story, some are really terrible. Most are just average, and they’re interesting enough if you’re interested in the town to start with. 

Let’s re-think that history video. What parts of your history matter? Think about what makes your town different. No place is quite the same mix of people and place, culture and heritage. 

What would you put in a “now” video? What are your people working on now? Here’s a way to think about it: If you gave me a personal tour of your town today, what would you want to show me? Now make that video and show everyone. 

What goes into your “future” video? You can let your imagination run wild. Create the vision of the town you want to live in. Create the whole vision, the downtown, the schools, the parks, the art, the fanciful parts. Invite kids to draw the town they want. Older kids can mock up models. Use these to create a “future” video.

Get together with friends and build the Lighter-Quicker-Cheaper temporary version of the town you want. Use pop-up restaurants and art galleries to fill empty buildings, put temporary cafe seating right on the sidewalks, haul in plants, invite everyone downtown, and make it a big party. Get video of that. That’s your “future” video. 

If you have a “now” or “future” video, I’d love to see them. Hit reply and send me a link. 

Keep shaping the future of your town, 

PS – Remember the big discussion on parking meters downtown? Tyler, Texas, just converted their parking enforcement officers into Downtown Ambassadors. They still write parking tickets, but now they’ll give you 10 minutes grace, make change for you, give you a brochure, recommend restaurants and fill you in on upcoming downtown events. That’s how you make your town Idea Friendly.