It has been nearly a year since Milenko Matanovic stepped away from the day-to-day work of running Pomegranate Center, but between speaking engagements, writing, an upcoming art exhibit, and founding the Institute for Everyday Democracy, he’s certainly not slowing down. We sat down and chatted with him about his past work, present endeavors, and future goals–for Pomegranate Center and beyond.
The first steps to turn an initial idea into a real project
By Katya Matanovic
I am surrounded by people with good ideas. Perhaps it’s living in Seattle, a hub for nonprofits and foundations; or maybe it’s being of the Xennial generation (it’s really a thing); or it could be the speed and access to information every minute of every day. I’m not sure what it is. But a lot of my casual conversations with friends eventually meander to “I’ve got this idea…”
When the ideas are about their neighborhood or getting people together, I pay special attention because, well, it’s my job. Sometimes the ideas are big and loose and abstract – “I’ve been thinking about a connection between food and talking about racism,” – and sometimes the ideas are much more digested.
How do you get hundreds of people across many communities to establish a shared vision for the future?
Pomegranate Center has applied our model to parks, neighborhoods, schools, and other public spaces. Now, we’re applying our model to one of the biggest crises facing our city and our country: homelessness and affordable housing.
A wetland is a habitat of rich biodiversity. A neighborhood is a habitat of rich cultural diversity. What happens when a neighborhood has the opportunity to restore a wetland and integrate it into the surrounding community? Pomegranate Center has been working to discover that answer all year through our collaboration with the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA) on the Delridge Wetlands.