Goodbye to the Ideas Man for American Cities

Bill Barnes, Who Died Last Week, Strengthened and Deepened a 'Republic of Conversations'

When we think of ideas that change our lives, we often think of a great genius, a single discovery, a major technological breakthrough. But often the greater role is played by thinkers who bring others together to share ideas, learn, and innovate together.

That is why Bill Barnes, who died last week at age 77, was one of the most influential thinkers about cities and local democracy of the past 40 years. Barnes believed in the power of ideas, and he made them more powerful by creating spaces for people to …

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Black and white photo of Arnold Schoenberg conducting during a rehearsal with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra in 1935.

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