Seek Newsletter – Volume 001

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Change is a constant. It occurs every day, it touches everyone and happens everywhere. It’s fueled by local forces, and dynamics that have a global reach. New subdivisions are built. A road is widened. It’s hard to find parking. It’s easier to get to school. Some streets are barricaded, others landscaped. The sun brings out more panhandlers. There’s a new development close to Citadel Hill. The landmark at the corner is threatened. The cost of oil doubles. The bus route is changed.

There are new development proposals and many studies underway. There are forums, meetings, hearings and appeals. It’s endless, it seems complicated, it feels obscure and it’s unclear how it all fits together.

A great city deals with change through a shared and broadly understood vision; a transparent, open and energetic approach that embraces positive change and action; welcomes popular engagement in shaping the community; and supports a culture that values quality, understands that local design makes a difference and that mediocrity is never acceptable.

HRM by virtue of its manageable size, fortuitous geography and human capacity has unparalleled opportunities to embrace change and shape its own future, to value its history and see that its best days are still ahead. Focus, innovation and imagination will make Halifax into a great city of the 21st Century.

The Planning & Design Centre is a response to this context. The idea is to create a store-front operation that makes planning and design visible, open to discussion and sources of innovation. It is seen as a collaborative enterprise, common ground, and think tank that brings together the public, the business community, the development industry and different levels of government for a tangible purpose. The goal is to make the region a better place to live, grow up, do business and visit by: being proactive in providing up-to-date, organized information; facilitating public discussion; and focusing on innovative and practical research.

This newsletter “SEEK” is the first preliminary step, a seed, in the evolution of the Planning & Design Centre, which every few months will provide a snapshot of what is happening – and there is a lot happening: numerous development proposals, many studies, and many, many meetings. Each in its own way will make a difference. Each is an opportunity to make positive local change.[/one_third]

There is also a value in seeing them all together for they represent a picture of where we are going and how we are going to get there. In that sense, this newsletter will make planning more visible, and design issues more tangible. The hope is that ultimately it will fuel more interest, raise awareness and inspire our collective imagination to direct change toward building the city of our aspirations.

Click here to read the first issue of SEEK.