Getting More GOOD Ideas for RVA

You can’t turn around in RVA these days without a good idea hitting you on the head – while that can be exasperating at times, it’s an amazing turnabout from the days when everything in Richmond was half-full and the same 35 people showed up in the same rooms to rehash the same perspectives. Fresh, optimistic perspectives seem to be a new normal in the creative and entrepreneurial quarter, and last week’s GOOD Id eas for Cities event at the Virginia Historical Society is a case in point.

More than 200 people – not your usual suspects, for the most part – came together to hear three randomly formed teams of creative, businesspeople and civic do-gooders share their ideas for attracting more people to the James River, getting more tourists to get off the interstate and explore RVA, and repair our struggling middle schools.

Ross Catrow at RVANews was on the team exploring the interstate question (as was I) and provides a solid summary of the event, and the ideas:

The first group was asked to think about bringing people and dollars to the Canal Walk and the riverfront. They decided that one of the obstacles to attracting actual humans to the river is the lack of businesses near the river. Easy to solve right? Just get more businesses down there!

But have you ever tried to actually start a business? It’s a morass of confusing terminology and a web of links to a trillion different city departments. Here’s the current page from the city designed to “help” you start your new business. This could be SO MUCH better!

The team suggested creating a very straightforward, easy to use resource (Pop-up RVA) that laid out the simplest and quickest path to getting your new business up and running. They suggested focusing on mobile and cart-based business, as those would be easier to “pop-up” down by the river.

Ross also spoke about the new vibe I mentioned a bit earlier in this piece:

I… really do think that this is a special moment in time for Richmond. We need to take advantage of the momentum created by things like Art 180, g40, and the RVA Street Art Fest. We need to start implementing creative, diverse, and good ideas throughout the city.

As always, implementation is the key to turning good ideas into good works. Here’s hoping the GOOD Ideas for Cities launch transforms into GOOD Works for Richmond.