By Greg Fuson
Seven years ago, PCBC set out to create a new event that was a radical departure from anything being offered, by us or by others, to the development industry. After all, the world had (and has) plenty of conferences catering to the business side of homebuilding. We thought there was instead a need for a more inquisitive, adventurous and visionary gathering – a select group that could provide new insights into the nature, and the future, of community. And so emerged the first, probing questions and ideas that ultimately grew into The Vine. (You can read more about The Vine’s origin and purpose here.)
The speakers we invite are eclectic and category-defiant, because we believe fresh insights into community can come from anywhere, and anyone. Past presenters have included award-winning author Dave Eggers, inventor and activist Stewart Brand, actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, organizational behaviorist Margaret Wheatley, creativity guru Sir Ken Robinson, and Life is good® entrepreneurs Bert and John Jacobs.
The next gathering of The Vine will be Tuesday, June 4th, in San Diego (the day before PCBC gets underway). Our program, The Art of Creative Placemaking, is co-created with ArtPlace, a collaboration of major foundations investing in art and culture to yield more vibrant cities and neighborhoods.
It’s a fitting partnership, as art and culture have been prominently woven throughout the Vine experience—and have provided many of our most unforgettable moments. One of my favorites, from our 2007 meeting, was “The Secret Ruths of Island House,” a dramatic performance by three immensely talented young actresses* re-enacting interviews conducted with elderly women at a care center.
(* One of them Claytie Mason, daughter of Pardee Homes’ Joyce Mason)
The voices of the “Secret Ruths” were a vivid, haunting reminder that so much of our cultural heritage and wisdom is bottled up when we relegate our elders to these facilities without finding ways of connecting them back to the community. And it was a message delivered much more poignantly, and memorably, than if we’d heard it from an academic speaker with a PowerPoint slide.
This year’s program continues the tradition, bringing the development world into a broader, deeper conversation about art and its ability to spur growth and creativity (not to mention real estate values). We’ll hear from developers and artists who are working together to create experiential places that defy commoditization.
And, as you’d expect, we’ll also hear from the unexpected, including a NASA “visual strategist” who once drilled a hole in a grain of sand. And a cartoonist who got his start by drawing on the back of business cards—on his way to becoming a bestselling author and creator of one of the world’s most influential marketing blogs.
The Vine is an exclusive—but not exclusionary—gathering. Participation is by invitation because it’s an intentionally small group (not because we’re snobs).
For anyone who’s interested in attending and contributing to the conversation, information is here about how to request an invitation. Attendance is limited to 100 people, and we’re already a third of the way there, so time is of the essence.
If this sounds like your kind of thing, I hope you’ll get in touch. We’d love to welcome you to the community.