Change or die

When given the choice between change or death, 90% of us choose death, according to medical findings highlighted in the Fast Company magazine cover story, Change or Die, which has since become a book. So if you’re looking for significant change in your community toward building better places, you’d better be more than prepared. Here are a couple myths of change:

Change will happen when crisis occurs. Not true for 90% of people who’ve had coronary bypasses, or how the healthcare industry has known for decades that 80% of healthcare costs result directly from unhealthy eating, drinking, smoking, stress and lack of exercise, but haven’t changed premiums to reflect it. Look at abandoned downtowns and neglected neighborhoods. Change must be early as well as sweeping because the following isn’t true either…

Small, incremental changes are the way to go. Not true if you ever want to benefit from those changes, or at least be motivated by them. Most of the cities that go through miraculous transformations have newly elected mayors that completely overhaul the way things are done with revamped planning codes and budgets. If that’s not in the cards for your community, focus on a neighborhood, or even a single site, and apply radical change for the better on a doable scale.

What major changes for the better have you seen in your town? Please comment below…

  • sm2

    This was a great article- I’ve been passing it around my public policy school. The myth-busting completely flies in the face of what we’re all taught! Howard Gardner is a must-read, also. There is truly a difference between the mindless incrementalism of “change” and “transformation.”