March 27: In the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle there is a front page story of how the Golden Gate National Recreation Area has been awarded three Stewardship Awards from the Cultural Landscape Foundation, a national organization.
They are being recognized for a partnership among public agencies and various stakeholders in creating “cultural landscapes” that are dynamic in nature and harbor beauty and historical meaning – “layers and layers of history, with our time putting down its own layer.”
The physical beauty and the visible element of human design is what distinguishes the outcome of this partnership. The physical sites include Muir Woods, Golden Gate Park, The San Francisco Presidio, and Crissy Field.
The planners were praised for their “mindfulness” and “the elegance of design, sustainability, intelligence of siting and an understanding of the continuum of nature and culture.”
Is this not an aspiration for leadership more generally? Is this not what stewardship might represent for a new generation of leaders?
My question, of course, is about how we can re-imagine both leadership and stewardship as ideas that go beyond simply having power over decisions or people, or conversely, being flunkies for invisible forces or simply for our own personal, financial and egoic gain.
Mindfulness, Elegance of Design, Sustainability, the intelligence of siting/sitting (reflecting) and an understanding of the continuum of nature and culture are powerful ways of describing both leadership and stewardship.