How to Transform Your City

By Kevin Bracken and Lori Kufner

1. Be cute. Your very presence should elicit a smile! Be playful! Wings help. Pigtails too. You used to be a child; maybe you still are! Everyone needs to remember how to act like one.

2. Remember that little things count. If everybody wanted to write “You are beautiful” on a post-it note and stick it on the bus, the city would transform itself! Leaving curious things behind, episodes of spontaneous joy, tic-tac boxes full of glitter and ribbons on trees all create miniature moments of euphoria. Small acts of kindness and beauty have the potential to become an enormous emergence of energy with the power to alter reality for even just a minute! Think glamourbombs!

3. Love the media. Even if you remain anonymous, the people with the pens and the paper and the cameras are your friends! They will spread the message that something wonderful is happening nearby, and will help you inspire others to do the same.

4. Use the people’s chariot. Your public transit system, your SkyTrain, your subway, your Métro, your light rail or your CTrain is the lifeblood of the city. It deserves some love. Throw a party: make a train beautiful and dance! Decorations, music, props and costumes set the stage for your themed, magical night beneath the city streets.

5. Be inspired. What do Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Dr. Seuss and Marcel Duchamp have in common? Not too much. Be prepared to have an epiphany at moment’s notice. Visit toy stores for the best ideas–children know best. Explore the Internet to see what people are doing to transform their cities; almost every idea is portable. The more people to whom you tell your ideas, the more ideas people will give you. Your ideas may sneakily imagine themselves into existence!

6. Work. Everything you do is either work or play. We prefer to play, but some things make getting the word out much easier, and they require some (fun) effort. If you want to make city transformation more than a hobby, it helps a lot to have a website, or at least a knack for design or the written arts so you can get the word out creatively (like your art!) If you are good at what you do, and a little imaginative, somebody will want to know what you’re up to next. Tell everyone! Mailing lists are great for this. Start licking stamps.

7. Play! Organize events. Big ones. Crazy ones. Push the limits of what you think is possible. Dream your biggest dream. If you think it’s too crazy, like renting an elephant and marching it down the street or dyeing the harbour pink, it’s not crazy enough. Take a little piece of childhood, a backyard game perhaps, and multiply it by a thousand in your urban backyard. Make art. Massive, interactive public art! The streets are your playground, remember? If you think you are going too far, you probably are. Don’t let that stop you: your city needs movers and shakers and fantasy makers because the city could be our paradise.

Kevin Bracken & Lori Kufner are the dual intelligences behind newmindspace. Visit newmindspace.com for more info.

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