Let's Have Dinner

1.5 minute read

How do we transform your city from just “livable” to “lovable”?

This is the type of question that we at Vista Growth ask in our placemaking and placebranding work at the organizational level. At the civic level, this is the type of question being posed by The Lovable City, an initiative of Civic Dinners. Civic Dinners is an organization that gathers a diverse group of citizens to discuss and debate a certain topic, all around the most basic setting — you guessed it — the dinner table. 


The Lovable City is a national campaign taking place this October that is focused on engaging citizens from cities — big and small — across the U.S. to discuss how the places they call home can become more vital, more enjoyable, more lovable. So far, interest in The Lovable City is high – attracting cities from Clarkston, Georgia to Los Angeles, California and dozens in between. With more cities joining in the movement every day.


Civic Dinners typically covers an array of topics, but The Lovable City gets back to the initial concept of why Civic Dinners was launched. Like many start-ups, it was born out of opportunity and pain. Five years ago, Atlanta was not looking its best. Locally, or in the national spotlight. The city had failed to pass the TSPLOST transportation referendum. The Atlanta Public Schools standardized tests cheating scandal was in the headlines. And on top of that, Saturday Night Live was writing parody sketches about the disaster of “Snowpocolypse”. ATL was in need of a narrative change. So, folks got together over dinner and discussed what is was that they absolutely loved about the city. And what they would love to love about the city, and how they could help make it happen. They realized that there was a real hunger from citizens to have these dialogues, be involved with making change, and find a community within their city. Introducing Civic Dinners.


Each city across America has different priorities and challenges. Atlanta may be challenged by transportation. Miami may prioritize the threat of climate change. Or St. Louis may have housing challenges. No matter the challenge, The Lovable Cities is interested in engaging the diverse and passionate citizens from each of these places in meaningful conversations to discover their city’s sources of greatness, address issues head on, and co-create a better future for their city.


The Lovable City is the place to go to when you want to influence and spark change where you live, but you don’t know where to start. It’s a place where you can be heard, have a meaningful dialogue, and form a connection with other people in your community that may have different ideas from you, but are equally as passionate. Civic entities have limited resources, so it’s up to us as citizens to step up to the plate and fill in the gaps.

At Vista, we believe that the best communities are the citizen-centered communities. The more engaged the citizens, the better the community. The less engaged the citizens, the more problematic. It’s that simple.

We are big believers in the important work that Civic Dinners and The Lovable City are doing, and support them 110%. We encourage you to look into it for yourself at thelovablecity.com and learn how you and others can bring The Lovable City to your city this October. Sign-ups are open now until September 20th. And sign up to host a dinner. Let's all have dinner!

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