The City of Kitchener recently received an award for planning excellence from the Canadian Institute of Planners. Kitchener’s Love My Hood strategy was awarded the prize for New and Emerging Planning initiatives for its innovative and unique methodology - providing small groups of residents the tools and permission to work with their community to formulate an action plan and make decisions.
The Love My Hood strategy is Kitchener’s first ever neighbourhood strategy and is unique because it focuses on working with citizens as dedicated volunteers to build up a neighbourhood strategy from each community to the city level. Dedicated staff and volunteers engaged over 5000 members of the community in parties, workshops, surveys and over 1000 hours of meetings to engage the ideas and passions of the community.
The result of this work, as recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners, is the future of city building. Kitchener’s neighbourhood strategy boldly engages small communities within the city to take an active role shaping their civic landscape by providing resources, reducing administrative burdens for initiatives, promoting place-making and connecting individual citizens to groups working in their community.
As I was recently reminded when I attended a community barbecue in my neighbourhood, the results have been incredible. Event organizers and visitors commented on how Love My Hood allowed them to build up a community presence where neighbours participated in events and local decision-makers attended to interact with residents and learn about what was going on. It was truly an inspiring community event.
Take Your Learning Further: