Let's sketch it out!
Citizen STEAM is still in its infancy, but we have big dreams. The details will become clearer as we build a community and get help and feedback from folks interested in getting involved.
So what is Citizen STEAM?
We like to think of it more like an experiment than a nonprofit. We have a hypothesis:
Both research and experience have taught us that we cannot continue down the current path. Industrialization has left a wound - from the damage to the environment to the living conditions of the working class to the way our kids are taught in school - the question is, how do we heal?
Many of the answers lie in what we've lost. We've lost culture, commununity, and freedom. We've become smaller in a globalizing world and it seems like there's never enough time and resources for us all.
With Citizen STEAM, we are hoping to empower everyday people to engage with science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics in new ways that can spark imagination, creativity, and self-reliance. Instead of feeling like a helpless consumer, we believe that with community support and guidance, anyone can have more self-determination in their life.
We have so many big problems to tackle, we'll never overcome the challenges if we wait for the answers to be handed to us. Let's tackle them together.
North Adams, MA
Why choose North Adams as the pilot city?
Well to start with, it's where we call home. It's where we have been living and working for years.
It's the smallest city in Massachusetts, but it has one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world and also one of the oldest hot dog stands. These are the kinds of facts you learn as a tourist, but the whole story is much richer.
Like many cities that found their boom during industrialization, North Adams had factories and livilihood which was lost as jobs moved overseas. Over the past 30 years it has worked to reshape itself as center for the arts and entertainment. The outward face for tourists has hidden the economic depression that lingers, and the challenges with housing and income inequality here are echoed all over America.
We think that North Adams has incredible potential and so do all the people living in it. Watching the changes, it is hard not to notice the way forces at play could move the city in the direction of gentrification, displacing many of the people who have come to find North Adams as their home. We believe that community and collaboration and creativity can find new paths forward to develop the city and the people in it by rising together without displacement.
We've sketched out the philosophy of Citizen STEAM, but that is nothing without action. We're just getting started, but here's what we've got in the pipeline:
- Fish Pond Regatta
- Our first event. This one is just supposed to be fun and get the gears turning. A backyard engineering challenge to build a cardboard boat and actually try to ride it. Sign up and have fun with us.
- Youth lead compost site and graffiti park
- We purchased some land that is zoned for industrial use near the city dump. We're hoping in the near future to be able to clear it and build a composting program here in town.
- Natural Playground and Food Forest
- This project will be built on 72 acres of wooded land near the edge of the Mt. Greylock State Reservation. Our plan is to begin planting fruit and nut trees in the fall and berry bushes and mushrooms eventually as well. Food forests are great as a community food source as well as helping wildlife, all without requiring the constant attention of traditional agriculture. The natural playground will be a fantastic way for children and adults to reconnect with nature and remember why the it is worth preserving.
Be sure to join our mailing list to get more details!