Seek Newsletter-Volume 006Friday, November 2nd, 2012
The city is not static. It is constantly changing and evolving. Planning is a means of setting the direction for this change. Rather than being a rigid set of rules dictating how a community grows, a plan provides guidance on how to address the opportunities and constraints arising from this change. A plan must be representative of what the community needs and desires. A key component, then, is the public. In order to have the information to make these decisions, those responsible must know what the community values, needs and wants. It is not enough to hold meetings in conjunction with devising a new plan, a plan review, or as part of the development permit process. Planning is an attitude which requires on-going engagement. Change does not stop, so why does community involvement?
Seek is the newsletter for the Planning & Design Centre. This issue is dedicated to community engagement in planning within HRM. Looking at three current opportunities for engaging the public, we hope to highlight how public participation in planning must not be limited to a moment in time. Rather, it must be on-going and meaningful, with citizens given the tools and information they need to contribute to the growth and development of their street, neighbourhood and city.
Planning and design must be more visible. If the community is to contribute meaningfully to how their city develops, they must be given the tools and ability to make that contribution. The Planning & Design Centre represents a venue for the realization that planning and design can be a part of our everyday lives.
The Planning & Design Centre is dedicated to three simple principles:
1. Awareness: Access to information is of primary importance. To increase awareness and improve the quality of design, information about projects and plans needs to be current, in one place and highly visible.
2. Collaboration: An ongoing forum for public discussion is key to raising expectations, overcoming polarized views, establishing a design culture and shaping our own future.
3. Innovation: Developing high quality, sustainable infrastructure requires leadership, innovation and an advocate.