The City 2.0
The City 2.0: Stockton is an initiative that works in conjunction with TEDxSanJoaquin, an independently organized event licensed by TED. TEDxSanJoaquin is themed “Just the Right Amount of Wrong,” intended to challenge us to disrupt the status quo and create innovative and sustainable solutions that positively impact our community, region, and the world. Through TEDxSanJoaquin we hope to create an integrative force that allows local citizens to connect and participate in the creation of our unique City 2.0.
The prolonged economic downturn gripping the nation has been hard-hitting, devastating the well-being of our cities—Stockton, CA is no exception to this reality. As Stockton battles to maintain financial solvency, the city is also challenged with overcoming numerous chronic issues: crime, unemployment, food insecurity, inadequate housing, immigration, foreclosure, gang violence, and an increasingly low-skilled workforce.
Year after year, Stockton sits high at the top of many unenviable nation-wide rankings. In 2010 the city was recognized as the U.S. suburb with the highest poverty rate, reaching 16.4%1. Stockton remains disproportionately affected by crime. The city is only safer than 2% of cities in the U.S., where one’s chance of being a victim of violent crime is 1 out of 70 compared to the state-wide 1 out of 266 statistic2. In January 2011 the city of Stockton had a 22.3% unemployment rate3. Also in 2011 it set the national record high of 56 homicides.
The problems don’t stop there. Today, fewer than one-third of the city’s 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool4, which in turn affects education in the long-run. This is illustrated by the estimated 4,300 high school students that dropped out from the class of 20105, resulting in overwhelming costs to themselves, their families and the community.
Furthermore, approximately 41% of high school students did not graduate on-time with a regular high school diploma. Of the 23 high schools in the Stockton Metropolitan Area, threeof these are considered among the nation’s lowest-performing schools6. The effects on the city are destructive and can no longer be ignored.
If we wish to be successful in transforming the city, the Stockton community, activists, and leaders must examine the status quo with a fresh perspective in search of innovative economic and social improvement initiatives. We believe that in order to revitalize our city we must come together to implement a key strategy to actualize our long-term vision for a better Stockton. Rather than fix the symptoms, The City 2.0: Stockton seeks to be a part of the solution by tackling the root of the problem through a proven successful tool: civic engagement. Together, we can enable the Stockton population, widely representative of many ethnicities, genders, religions, age groups, and economic backgrounds, to recognize and achieve their full potential to transform a strained city into one filled with progress and hope.
3 http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore? ds=z1ebjpgk2654c1_&met_y=unemployment_rate&idim=city:PA062900&fdim_y=seasonality:U&dl=en&hl=en&q=sto ckton+unemployment+rate