What we can learn from this conference, and why we, as Inspiring Communities, are helping present it.
Inspiring Communities is dedicated to creating systems change with equity at the centre. We work directly in three communities across Nova Scotia — Digby, North Sydney / Sydney Mines and North Dartmouth. Only two of those is located in an “urban” area. But the truth is, what happens in our urban areas is intrinsically linked to what happens in the rest of the province.
Urban planning is more than choosing a spot for a new building, or adding public art; it’s a deep discussion about how we live in community, what is built, and how space is used. It can serve as a spark for conversations about equity and inclusivity, what values are reflected in our public spaces, and whose voices inform those decisions.
This year, one of the key panels will be on Sacred Civics, catalysed by the book of the same name. From chapter 11 of that book, written by book editor Jayne Engle, Tessy Britton and Pamela Glode-Desrochers, this quote is essential:
“…social infrastructure, which is place-based and takes a long-term, systemic, and radically inclusive approach. It is based on a vision to create conditions in the fabric of everyday community life that invite creativity and collaborative action and that enable transition to local wellbeing economies that are regenerative, circular, and inclusive of everyone.”
This is our mission, in different words perhaps, but this is what we aim for: communities powered by ‘wellbeing economies’ that are self-sustaining and inclusive. This work is long-term and systemic.
While this is our vision for individual communities, we know equally that in this small province, and this small region of the world, we are inextricably linked with each other. When a decision is made to base a company or government service in a community, for example, ripple effects are seen in the economies of the surrounding area, on transportation, in tourism, in myriad ways. While it sometimes may seem that we are competing for a common small resource base, the truth is, we are contributing to and building on a common resource base. It’s an inverted way of looking at it, perhaps, but it is more amenable to collaboration to think about things from this point of view.
On Monday, September 19, we encourage you to come in person or tune in virtually to the Art of City Building. Let yourself be inspired by the creative and collaborative work being done here and elsewhere. Communities can ‘just happen’ but how much better things can be if we each put a conscious effort into designing or planning how we would like to live.
Session I: Sacred Civics (Featuring authors from the book)
Session II: Future of Work: Living In Cities We Don’t Work In
Session III: The “Art” in the Art of City Building
Session VI: Cities, Interchanges and Cultural Districts
Find more including speaker bios at https://www.artofcitybuilding.ca/.
The event is free to attend and will be taking place both in-person at the Halifax Central Library and virtually via Zoom.