September 26, 2016

Great Neighbourhoods

January 31, 2014

A few years ago I was challenged by some friends to pay more attention to my neighbourhood and work to make it a wonderful place to live. Well, that sounded like a good idea and it’s been a pretty amazing journey so far. Both Andrew and I have taken the challenge to heart and we highly recommend the endeavour.

Along the way I was introduced to an organization called Project for Public Spaces. Their mission is to create great neighbourhoods and they coined the phrase “placemaking”. The following excerpt is the de?nition of placemaking taken from their website.

What is Placemaking?

‘Placemaking’ is both an overarching idea and a hands-on tool for improving a neighborhood, city or region. It has the potential to be one of the most transformative ideas of this century.What if we built our communities around places?

Placemaking is the process through which we collectively shape our public realm to maximize shared value. Rooted in community-based participation, Placemaking involves the planning, design, management and programming of public spaces. More than just creating better urban design of public spaces, Placemaking facilitates creative patterns of activities and connections (cultural, economic, social, ecological) that de?ne a place and support its ongoing evolution. Placemaking is how people are more collectively and intentionally shaping our world, and our future on this planet.

With the increasing awareness that our human environment is shaping us, Placemaking is how we shape humanity’s future. While environmentalism has challenged human impact on our planet, it is not the planet that is threatened but humanity’s ability to live viably here. Placemaking is building both the settlement patterns, and the communal capacity, for people to

thrive with each other and our natural world.

Check out their website for more on the de?nition of Placemaking.

Having a de?nition is a good start, but PPS goes further to give us some ideas for how  to go about this mission, and they published a book by Jay Walljasper called “The Great  neighborhood Book. A Do-it-Yourself Guide to Placemaking.”

In this newsletter I will start to highlight some of the principles from this book and will continue to add more ideas in each subsequent newsletter. Most of the ideas are common sense, but it’s helpful to be reminded of them. I challenge you to try one or two for yourself and see what happens. Let’s work together to make Glenora a “Great  place to live and raise our families”, to borrow a phrase from Lorne Zalasky’s repertoire.

How to feel right at home and foster a sense of community:

Smile, wave and greet everyone - It couldn’t be more simple. It’s more important than you could ever imagine.

Spark a revival of Old-Fashioned Neighbourliness - Everyone is busy, but we can still reach out to those who need a little help. Whether it’s to shovel someone’s walk or take over cookies or a meal to someone who needs it. A small gesture goes a long way.

Give yourself a break - Slow down and enjoy what’s most satisfying about your neighbourhood. Walk the beautiful streets, have a chat with a neighbour, take your child to the playground. Take the time to appreciate the great things around us.