Peter Kageyama, author of “For the Love of Cities” spent a few days in Cedar Rapids last week while in the area for his presentation at TEDx Iowa City on Friday. While in town, Peter met with different creatives/innovators/do-ers and lovers of Cedar Rapids in a variety of formats from casual small groups to larger events directed at young professionals, as well as speaking at the Convention & Visitors Bureau annual meeting on Thursday.

The premise behind Peter’s book and workshops are identifying what it is that makes us love and connect with our cities and how to cultivate and encourage those things. It is the little “love notes” as he calls them that attract us to cities – the cool local coffee shop, a popular farmers market, public art, unique street furniture, etc. that punctuate our daily routines, making cities uniquely our own. The point is, the greatness of cities is the sum of those many little love notes, and they need be nurtured and paid attention to, much the way a romantic relationship between two people would be. In contrast, the overall of cities – traffic congestion, road conditions, politics – things people most often identify as reasons to not love a city, are not things that can be “fixed” and result in significant change or more lovin’. At best, as Peter put it, someone may say “Well the traffic doesn’t suck as much anymore.” No love.

I had the good fortune of meeting Peter last week at a small book club meeting, as well as at a Creative Cities/Beer Tasting event held Wednesday evening at White Star Ale House downtown, geared towards young professionals in the community. It was exciting and encouraging not only to meet Peter, but also with so many others that are enthused and active in Cedar Rapids. I can’t wait to get involved with others working to move our community forward, on large and small scales, rather than just complaining about it. Believe it or not, there’s actually quite a lot of love for the CR.