I had a vision, partial vision, of my community, like remembering a dream, starting from where I stood in RevenFlo on Caldwell Street. The building was two stories, as opposed to its now one. I walked out of our back door, and there was a courtyard of paths before me, a road system of sorts for walking and biking and skating, designed among green and garden and public art. These were pathways that seemed to be linked to a series of pathways beyond the courtyard, and beyond my vision.
This impressive system of moving without motors was the result of the work and collaboration of many and was a primary focus of an amazing program that we had introduced into the community that was a collaboration between the private sector, the local university, the colleges, and K12. This program was an ongoing transportation prototyping project that involved programming, design, mathematics, engineering, surveying, urban and rural planning, field testing, and more. The program didn’t teach all of these disciplines. It simply provided, facilitated, and managed the platform and the experience of the endeavor itself. The program revolved around the digital application work to be done and the process and delivery management of that work. Participants brought their own level of input and expertise. Though it had started small, the program had grown to be a significant endeavor with experts in the applied fields participating heavily, as attracted by the very nature of the program. The program was inextricably tied to the creative and intellectual services sectors that employed many of the experts and entrepreneurs of the area.
Beyond the courtyard of walking paths, green, and gardens was a parking garage. The garage was three stories and was attached to a hub connection of the local streetcar system. This particular hub was the connector of the Saluda Cherry and the Dave Lyle lines. The former ran from the Saluda area through the Caldwell district through the vibrant corridor of mixed use that was authentically still reflective of its textile past, then on to the University where the line met another connector hub, this time connecting to the bus system that ran to the hospital. All of this connected to a larger system of transportation through the county with road planning and connectivity to bus and rail systems.
This transportation-focused creative prototyping program, an innovation of our community, took place in the Hive, a buzzing environment of constant training and project-work programming with collaborations among the private sector, public sector, and educational institutions. These programs varied wildly in focus and included students from the general community, from the university, the colleges, and K12.
The program also included students from all over the region and had a sister program that was located in the Wilmore School in South End in Charlotte. Both programs had students from Charlotte and surrounding counties, including York and Lancaster Counties in SC, then on to Columbia, Greenville, and Charleston, as these cities were all connected through a high-speed passenger train system that was in turn connected to a well-operated national train system similar to our airport system today.
Thus, each of the individuals participating in these programs, as well as every individual in the community, was availed to a human internet of sorts connecting them to anywhere they wanted to go.
I thought of these innovative work programs happening at the Hive as I walked to a retail store on Main Street, as was my destination for point of errand. The store sold local fashion – clothing, shoes, and other localized lifestyle items. The store was operated by a group of students who were in a program connected with one of the businesses down on Fabric Street in the corridor – a vibrant mixed-use district known for the textile artist community there. The program not only had private sector involvement, but had participation and affiliation with the university, the colleges, K12, and other regional educational institutions connected with fashion and textiles – again, well connected through train systems and of course by the internet.
With a wholesome pride and admiration for the hard-working, innovative program participants behind the luxury I was experiencing, I purchased my item of interest, spoke to the familiar friendly student attendant, and left the store walking up main street. I tried not to be in a hurry, as life is the journey, but I was excited to return to my office. There was much work to be done.