Surveying and Celebrating Pittsburgh’s New Economy
See the New Economy FAQs
Our nation has the most powerful economy in the world, but its strength relies heavily on perpetual growth–an impossibility on a finite planet. When the old economy crumbles under its own weight, what will replace it? With this question in mind, the Pittsburgh New Economy Working Group at the Thomas Merton Center has launched a Mapping Project to identify and support the organizations, businesses, and projects working to build an economy based on reality, not fantasy. If you seek to transform our traditional economic system into one that is equitable, cooperative, honest, and environmentally sound, the “New Economy Mapping Project” can help you to achieve your goal.
The window below is a preview of the information assembled for the mapping project.
Got suggestions? Want to help? Let us know at http://j.mp/NEMPSuggestions
Have you ever struggled to find willing collaborators and sponsors for your new project? Or maybe you just want to plan an event on a date that doesn’t compete with countless similar events? These are challenges that many of us working in the New Economy have faced before, and our movement loses time, money, strength, and momentum each time we retrace the steps of those who walked before us. How can we expect to successfully compete with the traditional, fossil-fueled economy if we do not make the most of every advantage available to us? It is our objective with the Mapping Project to provide one such advantage via a comprehensive repository that will enable us to gather information, find and collaborate with willing partners, crowdsource patterns, identify gaps and overlaps of services by region, and ultimately share the solutions that come from this collective knowledge. This proactive collaboration can become a potent tool uniquely available to participants in the New Economy, helping us thrive outside of the inherently competitive traditional economy.
The Mapping Project in its current form emerged from meetings beginning in December of 2012, building on the work of Harvey Holtz and earlier Mapping teams. Holtz and his collaborators developed a conceptual framework and detailed survey to identify, categorize, and understand the diverse entities (businesses, organizations, etc.) working to build the New Economy. The Mapping team identified a large initial list of over 300 entities, quickly realizing that it would be more appropriate to launch an extensive search for all eligible groups before delving deeply into analysis of any single group. Setting “exploration” as our initial goal, Merton Center volunteers, along with several dedicated interns from the University of Pittsburgh, gradually expanded the list beyond 700 entries, which far exceeded our wildest expectations. The Mapping Project team has now shifted its focus from “exploration” to “information,” and is actively working to fill in details for each entity on the list–descriptions, categories, web sites, and mailing address information. We are about half way to this goal and expect to finish within the next few months. Once this basic information is in place for each and every group, business, farm, faith community, restaurant, and non-profit on the list, things will get much more interesting…
We have grand plans for the expansion of the Mapping Project, and would like to add a variety of new features over time, including:
Developing a publicly accessible Mapping website, allowing users to find and sort organizations in the database by various methods (i.e. keywords/categories, locations, areas of influence, and even website traffic levels)
Tracking all New Economy events on a single calendar and map.
Building a deeper knowledge-base by engaging the New Economy participants at a deeper level through extensive surveys and pro-active interviews, leveraging the framework developed by Harvey Holtz.
This effort will yield more nuanced results that will continue to support the innovation, growth, and relevance of the Mapping Project as it finds its home in the Pittsburgh community.
Finally, the Mapping Project will grow only in proportion to the time, energy, and insight contributed by volunteers and collaborators. If you are interested in supporting our efforts with ideas, time, or money, please let us know via this online form http://j.mp/NEMPSuggestions or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Mapping Project gives us all an opportunity to take concrete steps that transform the systems AROUND us into a system BY us, and FOR us. What are we waiting for? Let’s get moving and make the traditional economy obsolete.