Boston has somewhere between 16 and 23 neighborhoods, depending on how you count them. Try this quiz to see how many you know! Hint: there are 21 according to the quiz website. I could only remember 15 of them…
Do you know which neighborhood BU belongs to? On your mailing address, do you write “Boston 02215″ or something else? I live in the Whitestones (across from Marsh Plaza) and I recently found out that I technically live in Allston and my representative on the City Council (District 8) is Michael Ross. He’s been a City Councilor since 1999 and got an MBA from Boston University. Awesome! It looks like I can contact him pretty easily with any concerns I may have. If you are anything like me, all of this information is new and exciting. But it may feel totally irrelevant.
As students at Boston University, we can find someone on campus to address most of our concerns. Facilities will fix your toilet, Dining Services will give you food, and I Embrace You will give you free hugs on Fridays at Marsh Plaza. But knowing where you live in Boston, who represents you, and the power that you have is important for the health of our city and cities all over the world.
Watch this TED Talk before continuing with the post.
In this video, Benjamin Barber talks about how cities can and should be the future of global governance. He argues that cities both better represent citizens and are better equipped to solve the important problems of our time such as climate change, immigration, and terrorism. At the end, he asks the viewer, “Are you ready to take back your democracy?”
If you live in a city, I hope your answer will be yes. And the first step is knowing where you live and who represents you. Voting is one powerful way to take back our democracy and you can do that in the upcoming Mayoral and City Council election on Tuesday, November 5th. The other way is to realize that you have a lot of power to address some of these global problems just by living in a city. Vote with your presence – enjoy an urban park that is helping remove CO2 from the atmosphere by storing it in plant tissue. Vote with your time – volunteer at a nonprofit that works with recent immigrants. Vote with your smile – do your part to make this city a friendlier place where we can leave fear behind. But do make sure to vote. The future of the world depends on it!