Bench. Bryn Mawr neighborhood, Minneapolis. I attended a public hearing a few days ago about a new light rail line proposed that would run through the neighborhood. I heard many thoughtful responses for and against the proposal. One of the points that stuck with me, though, is the unfulfilled promises by the City from the last century of politics and government. A good number of African-Americans living in North Minneapolis didn’t debate so much the merits of the project so much as focus on the imbalance of care and attention paid to public spaces in their communities. Heated bus stops were cited quite often, for example. It’s the simple things that matter and show good will, I imagine. And this bench overgrown with beautiful weeds and uncared-for walking path/bike trail north of 394 may be another insignificant, but cumulative, artifact making this case. The idea of inequity isn’t really about money; it’s about the sense that the City and its citizens care for and love all its inhabitants. The loss of that tender value of being a brother and a sister within this common family is at the root of debates like these. We might do well to cease thinking of these public projects as transactional spaces and reimagine them as civic forums for reciprocity and encounter with one another. But how do we do it better? And more creatively?