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  • Writer's pictureJon Gosch

Publishing One-Block Revolution: 20 Years of Community Building

Anthologies are notoriously challenging projects to successfully compile, edit, and sell, yet when we were approached with the opportunity to publish the story of how the Community Building Campus in downtown Spokane came to be, we leapt at it. Many years in the making, we are honored that we could help editor Summer Hess and the Community Building team get this book over the finish line and into readers' hands.

Ironically, it was the aspects of this book that other publishers found too unusual or provincial that appealed to us the most. While other editors insisted this story should be written by a single author in a single style, we believed in Summer vision -- that the proper way to honor the legacy of the CBC was by allowing its story to be told by 20 of the contributors who helped to shape and steward the Community Building and its many organizations over the years. The CBC has always advocated for participatory democracy above all else, and it's more than fitting that the very structure of this book and its telling reflect that value.

Homers that we are, we also appreciated the book's almost microscopic focus -- a single block in a formerly dilapidated corner of Spokane's downtown. It's hard to believe that these few buildings could host so many inspirational stories, yet in truth this anthology could have been much longer. And while the geographical bounds of this collection's tales could fit within many dog parks, its relevance and resonance may indeed be felt nationally or even globally. That's why the slogan on the back cover reads: Lived Locally. Shared Globally. We know that not everything done at the CBC will (or even should be) replicated, but many of the lessons shared here are applicable to changemakers and organizations across the planet.

Among the many admirable qualities of this anthology, one more worth mentioning is the honesty with which its contributors share their experiences and insights. While it would have been easy to cherry pick successes and sweep the rest under the rug, nearly every contributor reveals mistakes made, illusions shed, and difficult realities often stressfully confronted. This was and continues to be a radical experiment in philanthropy, business, building renovation, management, and community engagement. It wasn't perfect, it never will be, and that's life -- one block of it, distilled here into this trim anthology.

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