Decatur Flash Mob Creates Strategic Plan in 45 MinutesDecatur Metro | April 15, 2010
In celebration of tonight’s Strategic Plan Kick Off Meeting, a story from the Decatur Metro Fictional Desk…
In a move deemed “shocking” by city commissioners and staff, thousands of Decatur residents showed up in force on Wednesday evening at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Ave and Commerce Drive and hammered out a new 10-year Strategic Plan for the city in just 45 minutes.
Witnesses to the flash mob said that the estimated group of 1,500 residents “literally came out of nowhere”, descending on the chosen meeting spot from coffee shops, churches and bars. Motorist Johnny Leadfoot sat stuck in traffic for over an hour as the swarm of residents argued and then quickly agreed to big picture issues like subsidized housing, greenspace initiatives and parking policies for the coming decade.
“I swear to God. One minute I’m sitting at the light, contemplating running over a cyclist who just blew through through the red light, and the next minute there’s a wall of passionate policy wonks sitting in the street and discussing the merits of smart growth! This city is unreal!”
According to flash mob coordinator @flashdecplan, though there were a couple of the usual last minute hidden additions to the plan (a city statue of Thomas Jefferson and Pete the Cat are now “Supreme Overlords of the City” and there’s now a public health care option for feral cats) the sporadic session was lauded almost universally as a “huge success”, getting all the city’s finer points laid out, while cutting down dramatically on all the planning and thinking that usually goes into plans.
“Usually you gotta send out fliers, come up with cute slogans and rent out some sort of facility. We had none of that and look what we accomplished!”
The mob was so “flash” in fact, not one of the estimated 1,500 people in attendance brought a pen or any paper. A couple napkins found in an 8 year-old’s pocket were deemed “too dirty” to use by a 15 person sub-committee, made up of a couple elderly, avid bikers in spandex, 10 DHS students, two drunk guys who wouldn’t stop arguing the merits of Belgian beers, and a little dog with a “Napoleon complex.”
Instead, the mob settled on using a box of chalk found in a nearby stroller to sketch out key initiatives residents wanted to see accomplished over the next 10 years. “Goals” and “tasks” were written out along Ponce from Clairemont Road to Commerce Drive. A “guy named Barney with an iPhone” was deemed the official note taker by a mob vote and was tasked with taking a bunch of digital photos of what had been scribbled out on the street.
“I hope that guy Barney hands those pics over to the City Manager.”, said a slightly worried @flashdecplan. “I didn’t get any of his contact info, and it rained overnight, so he has the only known record of our hard work. That new housing authority plan took a good 10 minutes to put together. It would be an absolute shame if we lost that.”
As for future flash mobs, @flashdecplan is already planning on others around town. “School board meetings, city budget meetings, neighborhood meet-ups, youth soccer games, book festivals. All this stuff can be organized AND executed much more efficiently thanks to the internet! Why plan and think about it ahead of time when you can just do a flash mob!?”