Three old newspaper boxes, now coated in neon colors, sit unchained in front of 7 West Broad Street. Inside the recycled boxes are stacks upon stacks of books, some tattered and dog-eared and others barely touched. Painted above them, a sign reads: “Books Are Always Free.”
Along Grove Avenue a blue water cooler is perched atop an old patio side table, surrounded by a collection of paper cups. No sign is needed. Regular runners along this route know that it’s for them—they count on it; they appreciate it.
A cup full of spare change sits outside of Stir Crazy, a neighborhood coffee shop along the MacArthur corridor. A simple note, left by a local artist, reads: “Your coffee is on us. Need the whole cup? Just take it, no rules.”
The idea of sharing is, of course, nothing new. But over the years, some of us have drifted away from it. Call it personal ownership, private consumption, or just the collection of stuff.
Things are changing.
Some Richmonders have embraced the act of sharing through small, everyday acts of kindness, whereas others have built organizations and infrastructure around it. Meanwhile, the open-source culture of the Internet has allowed us to fully embrace sharing and collaborative consumption on an entirely new level.
Today sharing is an essential part of how RVA lives, how we define ourselves. This issue of Greater Richmond Grid is our first Share-themed issue. It’s designed to show a small snapshot of the way Richmonders share. It’s no coincidence that this issue is timed to hit the streets around the same time as TEDxRVA comes back to town. The entire TED movement after all emphasizes “ideas worth spreading,” a concept that we hope readers will champion as they share their own ideas for moving the region forward.
Sharing can take many forms. Take An Bui, one of our feature stories and Chief Beer Officer at Mekong. While his catch phrase is, “Beer is the answer,” anyone who knows Bui knows there’s more. It’s Bui’s special gift of treating everyone he meets like someone special, getting to know them, and sharing more than just a beer with them.
For Bui and Grid readers, the real answer is just to share something, no matter how large or small, tangible or intangible.
We hope this Share issue of Grid inspires you to expand the circle of people with whom you share. In so doing, let’s keep changing how we visualize our common space as well as our challenges and how we solve them.