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Help citizens figure out what they *really* want their communities to be

This Post-it was an outcome of a design charrette held for the Bow to Bluff Initiative in Calgary, Canada. While the purpose of charrette was to revitalize a public space, this comment revealed an underlying truth about how the community saw it

Photo of Dave Robertson
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While it may read like a branding statement, this statement highlighted the tensions in a community where its citizens' progressive mindset have created a desirable place to live. The community now faces an ironic dilemma - they now face development and gentrification that threaten some of the underlying values of the community. This Post-It tries to summarize the characteristics of the community they seek to preserve.

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Photo of Jenny

Dave - thanks for highlighting the dilemma between gentrification and the values that ppl hold onto.

From several inspirations that I've read in this challenge, an insight has surfaced that people's identification of a place - and the physical spaces that make up that identification - is important to consider when talking about revitalization. I look forward to how we can explore this in concepting!

Photo of Dave

Thanks! The interesting part is what people who are interested in preserving community heritage said during an earlier workshop. A few admitted that they were less interested in preserving historic buildings than preserving the way in which people traditionally lived in the community.

Specifically, one thing they were interested in was preserving opportunities for small, locally owned businesses that this community is known for so that they could continue to have lasting relationships with the local business community.

From a planning and design standpoint, this suggested introducing space for small business in future residential developments on the public boundaries of these buildings as well as mechanisms for micro-businesses (like food carts or public realm kiosks).

Opps - getting my urban planning geek speak on.

Photo of John

I think you're right on in your response, Dave, and its worth considering that it isn't the place, but how the place makes us feel and interact that is most important. Figuring out what qualities of place are key (which I would argue historic preservation is one important element of) is going to be important in concepting new growth that will match those values.

Photo of Dave

Thanks, John - I think this is going to be a challenge in concepting because the (for lack of better term) "qualities of place" aren't always going to be positive in places where the collective memory of citizens doesn't reach far enough back to remember "good times" ...