What’s your 100 Days project?
Inspired by Michael Bierut’s 100 Day Project, 100 Days to a Better RVA strives to introduce and investigate unique ideas to improving the city of Richmond. View the entire project here and the intro here.
Sometimes I let my imagination run wild.
In late spring, when I mentioned the idea for 100 Days to a Better RVA to Ross after taping a VCU basketball podcast, my imagination was on a tour de force and practicality was a marathon away in the rear view mirror. But I survived, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
You gotta try it.
100 Days Project is an eight-year-old assignment by Yale School of Art professor Michael Bierut. The idea is simple: pick an operation and repeat it every day for 100 days. I love Richmond, so my topic was an easy choice, but the operation can be anything.
Ely Kim filmed himself dancing in a different location every day. Lauren Adolfsen met and took a picture with a new person every day. Juan Astasio constructed a smile every day…for 100 days. It can be anything: cook a new recipe, try a new beer, visit a new street in Richmond. The amount that can be learned about the world, and more importantly one’s self, in 100 days is astonishing.
My life is a patchwork of disjunct passions that make no sense, and my path often gets lost in the hustle. 100 Days to a Better RVA represents a 70,000 word chapter in my life that has kept me grounded and will continue to be a landmark to reflect upon as I navigate my future.
Every memory of the past four months neatly fits into the arc of 100 Days. I vividly remember brainstorming ideas in Germany and England in June. The exhaustion I felt writing Day #010 on my iPhone in the passenger seat of a parked pickup truck at 2:00 AM after a gig in Nashville, TN still makes me want to throw my spacephone into the James River. In fact, articles were written in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, and North Dakota (twice).
I never would have finished this project without the readers. The fear of publicly quitting was my fuel for the many late nights. So if you decide to embark on your own 100 day pilgrimage, it is essential that you build in a commitment device. If you believe in accountability, and you make a ridiculous commitment to an editor, an advertiser, or the internet, I promise you will genuinely be amazed at how far you can push your limits.
Every day wasn’t a success. I made mistakes. At times I wrote uninspired ramblings. I even suggested a hostel which is something already under construction in Richmond. But large numbers are beautiful because luck finds its way into repetitions. Here are my fourteen favorites:
- Day #005 Little free sports libraries
- Day #008 Embrace non-Civil War history
- Day #015 Stop building futon buildings
- Day #021 RVA Survival Station and an RVA Coin
- Day #027 Safer intersections
- Day #031 Stop building big shiny things
- Day #037 Turn Cary Street and Main Street into two-way streets
- Day #061 The Four Cemeteries at Evergreen
- Day #071 Boulevard and attempting to build something better than The Fan
- Day #075 Replace GEO Group with a restoration center
- Day #090: Richmond language
- Day #094 The 800 pound green gorilla in the neighborhood
- Day #097 The math behind building shiny things
- Day #098 A plea for regionalism
The only path to realizing a better Richmond is elevating the level of conversation. This requires listening, clear language, and a commitment to using logical arguments instead of only appealing to emotions. I hope you learned as much and were as challenged by these ideas as I was while writing articles about them.
— ∮∮∮ —
I want to thank RVANews, the dozens of interviewees, hundreds of recipients of phone calls and emails, and my patient friends, roommates, bandmates, and classmates for dealing with my limitations and keeping me afloat for the past few months.
I also want to thank the readers for forcing me to write every day whether they knew it or not and for the shared experiences, conversations, debates, and the occasional argument. This was an incredible experience and I hope some of you embark on a 100 Days Project–and if you do, please don’t hesitate to share it.