The Livability Summit: Virtuous Circle of Connection
What is Livability?
This is a serious question, not a rhetorical one. We asked this question of community members from all across the region, from different neighborhoods, ages, races, and professions. What we learned is that livability is not the same for everyone.
Responses ranged from housing to safety, good and abundant food to a quality education, and diverse cultural communities to a livable income. Indeed these are all important factors that provide a good quality of life, which proves that livability isn’t just one thing, it’s the combination of many things.
For me, the most poignant and clearest definition of livability that I heard came from a 20-year-old UC Davis student who moderated a youth discussion at Livability Summit on October 4th at Sac State. Tate told the audience of more than 300 that livability isn’t just about having what you need in life, it’s about living a happy life.
Valley Vision’s inaugural Livability Summit was designed to create a data-informed community discussion between diverse networks of people who could exchange views and ideas about the issues that affect us most. The Livability Summit was also about belonging and being heard in a forum where community voices can make a difference. That’s why the Summit tagline “Your voice belongs. Your voice makes change.” was the foundation to community-building and collaborative change-making.
Like others, our region is more disconnected, isolated, and divided than ever before. To counter these challenges and to leverage Valley Vision’s unique purpose of building more livable communities, the Summit proved to be a dynamic day that combined informative and inspirational presentations with small group dialogue, community-building, and interactive experiences.
Coming out of the event and reflecting on the experience, it’s more clear to me that cultivating connection and belonging creates a virtuous loop – you give something positive to others and inevitably you get back something positive that you couldn’t have anticipated. The energy and inspiration that we got back from those who participated was not only inspiring and uplifting but also cemented our desire to continue cultivating these important community connections.
I want to thank the community for coming together with us in a different kind of way, to engage in difficult conversations, and for being willing to bring an open mind and make change that can benefit us all. I am incredibly inspired by the conversations, connections, and collaborations that occurred at the Livability Summit and ready to build off that momentum to leverage Valley Vision’s role in advancing livable communities, especially in those neighborhoods that have long been uninvested and overlooked.
The Summit occured on one day, but the outcomes will carry on through Valley Vision’s work in the months and years ahead. If you were unable to attend this first-time event, I’d like to leave you with a few of the inspirational sentiments that attendees shared with us and hope that you will join us next fall for the first annual Livability Summit. We will announce dates soon.