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Talking About Change is the New Fondue Party

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We gather around a pot of gooey consultants, stuff ourselves, then go home and black out.

January 2003: “Creative Class” guru Richard Florida comes to town as keynote speaker of Richmond's annual economic conference. He advocates that Richmond begin cultivating its young people, start a culture of tolerance and openness (so that outsiders can more easily “plug in”), foster the street-level arts and embrace change. “Don't be afraid to be weird,” he says.

January 2004: Diversity advocate Rebecca Ryan comes to town to speak at Richmond's annual economic conference. She preaches in favor of cultivating youth, promoting tolerance, giving more support to the street-level arts scene and embracing change.

2004: A coalition of local business groups commission a study with Smart City Consulting, “The Young and the Restless,” that shows how Richmond needs to embrace change, stop ignoring its young people, promote a culture of tolerance and accessibility, and do more to counter charges that it is “the city that fun forgot.”

October 2004: Cultural anthropologist Dr. Jennifer James comes to town to speak to Leadership Metro Richmond's annual conference. Her topic: How Richmond needs to embrace change, promote tolerance and openness and start integrating younger people into positions of authority.

October 2006: World-renowned cultural planner Charles Landry comes to town to “challenge Richmond's leadership.” He speaks about how Richmond's leaders need to embrace change, stop ignoring its young people, cultivate a culture of tolerance and openness and begin fostering the street-level arts scene.

November 2007: Jim Crupi delivers a follow-up report to his 1992 “Richmond at the Crossroads” paper. In his new report, sponsored by the business community, the consultant advocates change, speaks of city leaders' lack of tolerance and openness, and points out Richmond's youth gap.

Consultant Recommendation of the Decade: Change.


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