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A Conversation in the Avenues

Posted on March 29, 2016
By Christie Nash

On Friday March 4th a group of twelve neighbours from the Avenues in Peterborough, ON gathered together for an après work beverage at a new establishment located in the neighbourhood to discuss what is awesome about where we live and how we can make it even better.

avenues_conversation_1.jpgBoulevard gardening, open street parties, street hockey tournaments, plant and seed exchanges, and preserve and canning parties were just a few of the ideas that sprung forward from this fruitful dialogue.

This conversation was hosted as part of the Local Deepening Community Initiative entitled Mapping Assets: You, Your Neighbourhood, Your Community, which aims to inspire neighbours to host conversations that emphasize and celebrate community assets, skills and passions. Both Mark Woolley and I live in the Avenues- Peterborough’s first suburb- and we decided to co-host a conversation with a number of neighbours that we already knew and felt would be interested in further exploring the possibilities about being more intentional about how to make our neighbourhood a vibrant, creative, inclusive, sustainable, safe and fun place to live.

As people arrived and began to chat with one another, some for the first time, we realized that it might be a challenge to move into a more structured conversation. However, Mark managed to get everyone’s attention and provide some context to the conversation.

Using the circle method of hosting, which enables each person the opportunity to speakavenues_conversation.jpg
uninterrupted for a few moments, we were each able to answer three questions: Why did you choose to live here? What is awesome about this neighbourhood? And, what are some shared possibilities for making it even better?

As you see in the picture, we filled three full pages worth of neighbourhood assets and opportunities! The energy in the room was palpable. The synergy tangible. Shared interests emerged and momentum was built particularly around what is valued in our community and projects and activities we can create together.

It was agreed the next step was to share the results of this conversation with the larger neighbourhood and ideally another meeting would be set. In the mean time, e-mails are flying about an Easter weekend street hockey tournament and sidewalk art with the younger kids.

To be continued…


Christie Nash

By Christie Nash

Community engagement and striving for social justice have been strong threads throughout Christie's personal and professional life. An active volunteer with a number of community organizations, Christie has worked in the non-profit sector for almost ten years. She has a strong understanding of the intersection between the governance and practice of building healthy, inclusive, and hopeful communities. Christie is deeply committed to the notion that when people work together they can overcome complex issues and that diversity is our greatest strength. She understands that community conversations must be multi-faceted, dynamic, and that building relationships takes time.

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