This week, the Uni Project brought our reading room cart to the Talking Transitions tent in Lower Manhattan, where New Yorkers convened to discuss the Mayoral transition and the future of the city. This historic public forum was initiated by the Open Society Foundation and funded by a coalition of leading foundations, including the FordFoundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. (NY Times and NY Magazine). Although not organized by the DeBlasio campaign, the Mayor-Elect visited the tent and paid tribute to this remarkable effort to inject campaign-level energy into transition issues.
The organizers clearly understand that we need to invest in our democracy generally, not just in taking political sides. To do so, they rapidly created a vibrant and engaging civic space (with beer!) where people could gather, share, listen, and learn. In a few days, the space will return to being a vacant lot, but the city will be permanently changed. In a small way, that’s exactly what we aim to do with a pop-up reading room. (Logistics lovers may enjoy this time-lapse video of the Transition Tent going up.)