I’ve learned that so much of our lives is controlled by our intentions, our thoughts and our beliefs. What we believe matters, what we as a community believe matters. Our intentions become thoughts, our thoughts become beliefs, our beliefs become ideas and actions. From inception, our intentions and beliefs carry great power; what we believe is often what shows up in-front of us, it’s what will evidently become our reality.
What do you believe, what do we as a collective believe?
I want to know and capture this, I want to document these insights. It’s why I created City Astronaut, an emblem and graphic which I believe may permit average people to speak their truth, through micro-storytelling. It will allow them and us to learn what they as individuals and a community think we are. To see what it is - we are manifesting in our city and our lives. It’s a simple idea, to give a person a small piece of paper that asks them to give a tip, thought or advice on living a better life in their city, an act of urban kindness, an act of tolerance for strangers they are personal with.
Across Miami Dade County will be installed stand alone colorful doors with the City Astronaut art work, on the back will be little hooks where you can hang your finished key so all can read and explore your thoughts. Users will not only be part of the installation but the artist and storyteller.
"There is no place in a city that can't be better. There is no toad that can't be a princess, no frog that can't become a prince." - Jaime Lerner
How it Fits
Keys to the City, Unlocking Urban Kindness using a City Astronaut Motto
BINSEN J GONZALEZ
CREATIVE DIRECTOR & FOUNDER OCT.
IMPACT AND INSPIRATION
I created City Astronaut with the idea Jaime Lerner used to impact his city, that “changes don’t need to be large scale and expensive to transform” — one block, park, or person can have an outsized powerful effect on everyday life. Lerner was so impactful in his role as an innovator, architect and urban planner, he was elected as mayor of Curitiba, the capital of Paraná, Brazil three times. In 1994, he was elected governor of Paraná, and was reelected in 1998. To this day he continues to inspire urban innovators across the globe.
As Tom Halland and Robin James Smith of Cardiff University in the UK put it in their article “Care and Repair and the Politics of Urban Kindness” there is a possibility that small acts of urban care, maintenance and cleaning might make for a good city.
This might seem a slim possibility, given the vast sociology of hopelessness to which the contemporary city is home.
But it can also be argued that a politics, and a sociology, of hope are best looked for not in big picture or utopian thinking but in the practical instances of everyday care and kindness that are as much a part of the urban everyday as anxiety, insecurity and damage.
They explored this possibility through a critical assessment of Nigel Thrift’s recent writings on urban repair, researching how street cleaners and outreach workers tasked to look out for the rough sleeping homeless. City Astronaut Keys is a project inspired by an utterly powerful narrative that can motivate further acts of kindness in the city, heal relationships between people and hopefully teach us all of a different paradigm other than our own.
Supporters & Partners
Binsen J Gonzalez is a Miami based technology advisor for impact initiatives, a creative, designer and urban engagement strategist. In 2014, the PRISA media conglomerate and Radio Caracol, named Binsen as one of 20 Latin American millennials under 30 poised to change the future. In 2015 he was selected as a one of 12 Young Leader Delegate, representing the US East Coast in Taipei Taiwan. His focus on technology and developing sustainable paths to better quality of life for people in cities has led him to design and execute projects for global thought leaders involved in organizations such as the Global Economic Forum, tech companies like Touch of Modern, and local enterprise.
Binsen is also the founder of Our City Thoughts Inc (OCT), an award winning non-profit with major funding from organizations like the Knight Foundation - focused on executing media and engagement tactics to help young people navigate Miami Dade County via technology, entrepreneurship, social innovation and urban kindness. The organization's work has been featured in the Miami Herald, Univision Radio, WLRN, NPR, The Business Journal, The Huffington Post, Latino Leaders Magazine, Ocean Drive Magazine and CBS.
Binsen is a K880 Emerging City Champion fellow and a judge for the Voto Latino Innovation Challenge. He has been involved with diplomatic projects nationally and abroad. He is also an AmeriCorps alum and graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a Bachelor's in Communication Studies.