Nathaniel Hood

Nathaniel Hood is a transportation planner and blogger living in St. Paul. He writes for Strong Towns and Streets.MN.

Posts about Minnesota congressional elections

Election 2012 & Public Spaces

Posted by: Nathaniel Hood Updated: November 7, 2012 - 2:34 AM

There is something great about experiencing an election with a group of strangers over a beer in a public place.

Unlike the last Presidential election, I stayed in this year. It was quite the juxtaposition to 2008 and 2010 (read: Sweeny’s Pub, plenty of ale and countless mini-corn dogs). Last night I enjoyed my girlfriend’s delicious Midwestern-style dinner of chicken and biscuits and a nice, relaxing night in – yet, it didn’t quite rival the excitement of experiencing election results with a large group of strangers over a pint. There is something excellent about being surrounded by people from both parties, cheering for different candidates, all in the same space.

We need to create built environments all over this country where these interactions can happen more often. It’s one reason that I stress our need for more quality “third” places. Twitter is a good place to communicate, but a great third place is tough to beat.

While it'd certainly be fun to be surrounded by like-minded supporters, I can't help but think there is something missing at single-issue / single-party campaign party get-together. You'll expirience one emotion at these places: joy or despair. But, when sharing a space with a diverse group of people, while you might not get the extremes, you'll hopefully have a relatable expirience with the person of opposing viewpoints. It makes your political opposition human and relatable when sharing a place in close proximity.

Well America – that was fun, but can we please get back to upbeat television ads about fast food, laundry detergent, beer and shiny electronics?

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Streets.MN: Do Sidewalks Make You Vote Democratic?
Strong Towns: What's the plan now? [if you've read this, just fast-forward to the Twitter image]
 

      

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