To the Ticco community,
I have been so astounded by all the work we have accomplished as city builders during this global crisis. The way we have stepped up to serve our communities throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic embodies our commitment to seeing our cities thrive.
It's no secret that I and the Ticco presence have gone quiet since March of 2020, and I'm finally in a place where I feel I can talk about it. I've fielded inquiries about Ticco over the last 19 months, and have addressed some commonly-asked questions below for your insight:
Why haven't there been any posts on the Ticco Platform lately?
I believe the activity on Ticco has declined for two reasons:
- Like any online community, you get out of Ticco what you put into it. Prior to the pandemic, I personally invested substantial time in creating Discussions, recruiting new users, and encouraging others to post Discussions on the platform. Since March of 2020 I have not been able to prompt online engagement at the same rate I did before the pandemic, so activity has declined.
- The pandemic has put city shapers in a position where many of us are overworked and overburdened, and we are emotionally strained. For a lot of us, it's difficult to find time or energy for anything beyond required work obligations.
- When the community is this sleepy, it's easy to forget it exists. Many members are simply not asking questions or engaging because they haven't been reminded about Ticco recently.
Ticco users can still post a Discussion at any time, and other members will be notified and likely will respond.
Why haven't there been any Ticco Retreats?
Prior to March 2020, a lot of time and energy went into planning in-person Ticco Retreats. I was thrilled to announce that we had scheduled a retreat for NYC early that year, but it was postponed when the pandemic came to a head.
In September 2020, we organized and hosted a virtual retreat entited Current Events: Urban Resilience in partnership with Island Press. While I'm proud of what we accomplished and the event was a success in many ways, I felt the retreat did not meet my own expectations of what a Ticco Retreat should be.
Our retreats have always been intended to be engaging, energetic experiences where people of many professional backgrounds come together to form connections and experience a city together. I feel we achieved this in Long Beach and Detroit in 2019, and we absolutely would have achieved it in New York in 2020. I knew after we hosted our virtual retreat that I either needed to educate myself on more engaging online formats, or we needed to hold off on hosting more events until we could once again meet in person.
What does the future look like for Ticco Retreats?
I have hope that we will once again organize in person events. I feel Ticco is well-positioned to do so, considering our retreats are designed for groups of 50 attendees or less. Our intimate, small meetup strategy is a natural fit for professional networking as we emerge from this pandemic.
Prior to the Delta Variant making its headway in the US, we had been discussing a small retreat to test the waters again. Unfortunately, that conversation had to pause considering the situation, but we hope to organize events again as soon as it's safe and feasible to do so.
Why have you been so quiet?
This has been a difficult time for us all, but I believe that those of us who shape cities are particularly stressed and operating at max capacity. Early in the pandemic we produced webinars, a virtual retreat, and polled existing members to figure out what they wanted. Overwhelmingly, we heard that people were experiencing high anxiety levels and did not feel they had the time or energy to participate in Ticco content at that time. Additionally, we recognize that many of us are spending hours per day in front of screens and we feel adding to that strain is not in line with our values as a company.
Our team at Ticco has been through some substantial transitions as well. I have taken a full-time position working in Real Estate Development with the City of Beaverton, Oregon and relocated from Long Beach, CA to the Portland, OR area. My husband and I moved into a new home, brought home a new puppy, and I began a new job all in the space of a few weeks earlier this year. Additionally, I recently began teaching in the University of Oregon's School of Architecture & Environment.
Erik Felix, our Outreach Coordinator, began studying for his Master's of Urban Planning at UCLA, and is now entering his 2nd year of grad school!
We have always been an all-volunteer team, and that will continue to be the case. Building cross-professional collaboration through Ticco is something I'm extremely passionate about, and I'm grateful for our members, partners, and the support system that have been here along the way.
What happens next?
I will continue to process new members who sign up for Ticco, and will share updates as relevant. However, I won't be actively creating content for Ticco until we know more about what our community needs and wants from us.
Soon I will be gathering a small group of members who have contributed to the Ticco platform and retreats since we were founded in 2018 to talk through ideas for our future. Their feedback will help inform what happens next. If you would like to participate in that discussion, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I sincerely thank all of you for your support and encouragement over the last 18 months. This has been a difficult time for us all, and I appreciate your interest in the Ticco community. I hope that we have the opportunity to connect people who shape cities in person again very soon! Until then,
Katie Rispoli Keaotamai
Founder & President