We focus a lot these days on the tools we should be using to tell our digital stories. But two wise women storytellers--educator Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot and anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson--remind us that the craft of storytelling begins with our approach to the story.
Lawrence-Lightfoot counsels us to look for the particular that resides in the general. "Stories well told, with detail and context," she says, "help us to discover the universals among us."   The Field Guide is grounded in this approach. As we immerse ourselves in the fascinating particulars of each project, business, and initiative we profile, the universal principles and patterns of the regenerative economy reveal themselves.
Bateson instructs us to narrate through the eyes and heart of what she calls "the participant-observer" (and by observer she includes self-observer!). Foregoing the pretense of being a mere neutral observer of her subjects and surroundings, she allows herself to be fully present and engaged with them. With our latest storytelling project, Regenerating Tottenville, we follow Bateson's strategy, simultaneously observing, participating in, and documenting the unfolding story of the regeneration of this forgotten community at the southernmost tip of New York City, where I went to high school (talk about self-observation!).  As such,  Regenerating Tottenville is more than a story. We hope it inspires others to be active participants in the regeneration of their own communities.

We share here the latest from  Regenerating Tottenville and our newest Field Guide stories below.

Susan Arterian Chang
Field Guide to a Regenerative Economy 


Explore Our Story Map

We love Knightlab's Storymap, a robust, open-source digital storytelling tool that we are adapting to spatially plot the arc of the Regenerating Tottenville story.
The First Tottenville Workshop

We engage in a lively, informal discussion with a small group of community members. They share their ideas about how to bring back a durably vibrant community in Tottenville.  
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Exploring Aquaculture in Tottenville

We meet with David Berg of the Long Island Regional Planning Council (LIRPC) and John Kilcullen, Director of Conference House Park, to explore the possibility of siting an aquaculture farm off the Tottenville shoreline.  
A Look Back to Look Forward

Clues to any community's regeneration reveal themselves when we study the collaborative human networks of their economic heydays. We trace their history in Tottenville.   Read more

Epleslang: Stealing Apples in Oslo

Anne Dubrau had an idea that was both humble and audacious. She wanted to create a self-sustaining business by matching underutilized human resources with otherwise wasted local assets in her neighborhood. Here's how she did it.   Read more

The Little Credit Union That Could
The small but mighty Genesee Cooperative Federal Credit Union demonstrates the Goldilocks Rule of Banking--the need for banks that are "just right" to serve commercial needs at scale. As it serves a network of related businesses, GCFCU mitigates its own financial risk as it builds a regenerative local economy.   Read more

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