Imagine, Chapter 7 : Urban Friction

I think this chapter allows for a good discussion on inspiration.

The world is a bit inspiration-obsessed right now :  from pinterest to facebook and design blogs and beyond, we spend a lot of time looking at things and thinking about how great they are, and never acting on those inspirations.  Lehrer talks about David Byrne gathering inspiration in New York, and actually acting upon those inspirations:

"For Byrne, the metropolis is like a sonic blender; every street is a mix tape.  Cities expand the imagination by exposing us to unexpected things, to funky Latin beats and jangly Nigerian bass lines and abstract works of art.  And then, then we;re in the studio, we can't help but weave those ideas into our own work, so that punk rock is melded with pop paintings, Afro-Cuban rhythms, and symbolist choreography.  This is why Byrne describes cities as a kind of 'energy source', and why he always bikes with a dictaphone in his pocket" (p. 178).

The message in chapter seven makes a case for thriving cultural centers, and I wonder how schools can take on that role, or be part of the phenomenon.  What is the role of a school, a preschool perhaps, in a community?  I think about the "unexpected strength of weak ties" also (p. 204).  The more people in your circle, people who maybe you have simply made contact with, the better.  I don't think we can dismiss the power of close relationships, of course, but casting a wide net can provide more resources, more ideas, and more excitement.

So, what do you think about the power of urban environments and their ability to inspire?  Do you prefer strong ties or weak ties? How does your work as a teacher fit into all of this?