Suburban Placemaking

May 2010

Creating public spaces in suburban communities through place-making

May 29, 2010 9:08 AM
Aslam Shaikh

Some of the main issues that I’ve outlined in my previous posts about the challenges to sustainability being faced by the suburbs include:

  • Heavy dependence on automobiles
  • Lack of a pedestrian scale
  • Lack of places to walk to, for people to meet and congregate
  • Lack of social capital and thus lack of social cohesion in many suburban communities
  • Commercial private spaces as only reasonable semi-public spaces

There are countless other reasons that I (and many others) have argued explaining the desolate nature of the suburbia – what I’ve identified above are a few general themes common to many of the suburban communities that I have experienced.

Keeping in line with the need for solutions to be feasible for communities to undertake themselves today, I propose the following to help deal with the challenges of sustainability being faced by suburbs. I suggest the use of place-making combined with the principles of sustainable community development to empower communities to find ways to make their communities more pleasant places to live that also strive to make them more sustainable as well.

What is place-making?

The simple explanation: the process of making places. Think again of the lack of places to go to in suburban neighbourhoods. Place-making in the suburbs would thus rectify this problem by creating public spaces in the suburbs for the local community to go to and to enjoy.The term has long been used by planners and architects, but during the past decades community organizations have adopted place-making as a tool that a community can adopt on their own. The CityRepair in Portland, Project for Public Spaces (PPS) in New York City, and Placemaking Chicago are all such examples.

The basic idea is this: suburbs can be made more enjoyable places to live by first adding variety to suburbs and creating places and public spaces for people in the neighbourhood to walk to. As opposed to creating places that require high amounts of capital, planning and political approval, and private investors, what is created here are small projects that a community can make on their own.

Ideas can range from small ideas to bigger ones, although it would likely make more sense to begin with smaller projects. A small handful of possible ideas can include:

  • Public space creation + neighbourhood beautification: Creating benches and places to sit throughout the neighbourhood, beautifying the neighbourhood with tree and flower planting, spicing up bus stop waiting areas, creating public art, small public spaces, children’s playgrounds, etc. These ideas make neighbourhoods more interesting places to be, can encourage walking through the neighbourhood by making it more enjoyable, and begins to create small places for people to go to.
  • Community garden: Starting a community garden doesn’t take a huge amount of capital, but can reap a lot of benefits. Efforts are encouraged to grow food locally and organically, which begins the process of re-localizing human necessities right into the neighbourhood. It also provides an activity that neighbours can work on together, creating relationships and fostering community cohesion. Alternatives can include community murals,
  • Small neighbourhood events: Once places to meet and congregate in communities are built, events can be organized such as community parties, BBQs, potluck dinners, neighbourhood yard sales. Eventually, efforts can be made to bring in outside vendors, such as setting up farmer’s markets on weekends in newly created public spaces that can now serve the local community as well as a wider area as well. Efforts can be made to invite other nearby communities to participate in such events. This further has the effect of increasing community cohesion, as well as re-localizing small economies right into the neighbourhood.

These are all merely suggestions, whatever project will actually be planned is ultimately up to the community itself. There are, however, a few principles that the PPS suggest are aspects that all good public spaces should have, as illustrated in their diagram below (click to enlarge):

Incorporating Community Development

The process of place-making can incorporate many of the principles of sustainable community development, as explained in the previous entry. Communities become empowered to seek their own sustainable solutions, and their own means of improving their neighbourhoods. The tasks are ‘grassroots’ bottom-up based, and strive to include as many members of the community as possible. Place-making projects, like community development initiatives, are also seen as an ongoing process of improvement, and not en end-goal in and of themselves.

Planting a small seed of change in stagnant suburbs

My original intention of wanting to seek change was that it had to be doable now, with technology we already possess, and without major infrastructure investment or political approval. I believe place-making to be a process that meets these requirements, but yet can still build considerable improvement. The idea behind place-making is to work with what you have, keeping costs low and goals feasible.

Take a look at Derek Sivers speaking during a micro-lecture at TED.com about the power of starting your own movement:

How will this increase sustainability and resiliency?

1.) Develop a sense of place: As the process fundamentally aims to do, place-making develops a sense of place in neighbourhoods, giving them more of an identity and distinctiveness. This is especially potent when each subdivision looks identical to the next. I believe this is an important part of resiliency, because it causes people to care more about their communities, and seeks their vested interests in projects and their neighbourhood.

2.) Pedestrian scale: Overtime the neighbourhood begins to take on a more pedestrian scale as details are added to the neighbourhood that can only be appreciated by the pedestrian (i.e. benches, public art, gathering places), erasing some of the effects of the automobile-centric planning of suburbs. This allows suburbs to become more complete communities, providing the daily needs of the suburbs within closer walking distances. Walking becomes more of an interesting, enjoyable experience. Healthier lifestyles are also thus encouraged as well as a result.

3.) Re-Localization: As place-making events grow, people are given the opportunity to seek a greater amount of their daily needs locally. Farmers markets that are brought to the suburbs are one such example. Creating community gardens allows for planting of locally available fresh produce. This also has the effect of making communities more locally self-sufficient. As well, as place-making can encourage walking and make the experience more enjoyable, people become more willing to take local transit to nearby opportunities instead of driving elsewhere.

4.) Carbon-reduction: As a result of less automobile use and more locally available sources, communities will see a decrease in their amount of CO2 production, creating environmental resiliency. Farmers markets and community gardens located near communities reduces the amount of CO2 used to transport food, and used by grocery shoppers to purchase food.

5.) Social & cultural sustainability: During the process, they meet and work with their local neighbours on common community projects, increasing community cohesiveness. Social capital begins to return to the suburbs, and becomes to grow. As this social capital grows, larger and more complex community projects can be undertaken. In diverse neighbourhoods, place-making projects that get communities working together can form bridging-capital between families of different backgrounds of lifestyles. The creation of more public spaces also creates more outdoor public places for the expression of cultural diversity – something which isn’t easy to do so on a whim in the so-called public realm of local shopping centres. Place-making creates public spaces that work in multiple ways to improving local social sustainability.

6.) Neighbourhood economic resiliency: By making neighbourhoods more attractive places to be, place-making makes people want to strive to prevent neighbourhoods from going into blight – something that may become important as suburban communities face increasing challenges with the rise of oil prices. Having a more respectable looking neighbourhood with more people out on the streets can also contribute to the safety of neighbourhood streets, and also prevent neighbourhood decline.

Beyond Place-making?

Community improvement should not (and likely will not) stop at place-making projects. As citizens of the neighbourhood join together, they can collectively make their voices heard louder at demanding that government aid them in attaining grander levels of sustainability. They can begin to demand better public transit servicing, local bike lanes, and the intensification of nearby arterial roads. All of this will be made more possible due to the neighbourhood now appearing as a strong community, with a strong cohesive voice. Before any of this happens, however, place-makers need to start small – while dreaming big.

  

Suburbs, social capital, and sustainable community development

May 16, 2010 9:02 AM
Aslam Shaikh

Community development is a process that has typically been used to help empower communities to make positive changes from within. Community development stems from a recognition that systematic failures have contributed to the socioeconomic challenges that some communities face. It thus strives to empower communities to affect their own change, finding resources and working together within the community and minimizing reliance on ‘the system’. It seeks independence from government systems, since it is often existing systems that failed to support these communities firsthand.

”Think globally, act locally”

Sustainable community development follows the same logic as explained above: it recognises that systematic failures have contributed to the challenges of sustainability that we face today. It also recognises that there are difficulties in mobilizing huge political systems to achieve sustainability – and even when governments agree on the need for sustainable measures, it can prove difficult getting them to do anything about it. Sustainable community development thus works at the local scale, allowing communities to seek their own means of implementing sustainable action. This is a means of thinking about some of the harmful effects that humans have on the world globally, and acting locally to contribute towards making sustainable improvements – thinking globally, acting locally.

Social capital + sustainable community development

Lets go back to some of the suburban issues that I discussed in my previous posts. I explained that due to the ways suburbs were designed, it became truly difficult (or at least incredibly inconvenient) to live in one without a car. I explained that because of this, there were a lack of places to go to within walking distance. This causes people in the suburbs to drive elsewhere to do their shopping, to meet friends, to eat, play, and relax. As a result, people do not congregate in places within their own suburban neighbourhood, they do not develop community social capital amongst each other, and people remain strangers from one another within their own neighbourhood. I argue that, because of these reasons, what is lacking in suburban neighbourhoods is social capital. This sentiment is shared and has been well developed by Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone, as well as by James Howard Kunstler in Home From Nowhere.

Enter: sustainable community development. What I have identified above are problems that are common to many suburbs, and are issues that affect all those who live in a common suburban community. We thus have common goals that we can work together on as a community. Using the principles of community development, processes can be implement that bring people together to work on a common plan to achieve sustainable community projects.

Ann Dale (professor at Royal Roads University’s School of Environment and Sustainability) has done much research into the intersections of social capital and sustainable community development. In an examination of local community sustainable community development case studies, she found the most common aspect of the success of these projects to be the social capital that was fostered between members of the community who worked on projects together (Dale, Ling, Newman, 2010). She is the founding member of CRC Research, which provides explored the relationship between social capital and sustainable community development. Their website includes a guide of how to start a sustainable community development process in your local neighbourhood. See: http://www.crcresearch.org/

How the principles of sustainable community development can improve suburban life

What I outline here are some of the principles of community development, as they can be applied to developing sustainable solutions in suburban communities:

1.) Community empowerment, providing the community with the ability to affect their own change. This involves reducing dependency on outside forces, and regain control of the community’s development.

  • SIGNIFICANCE: This is particularly important considering that local governments are slow to act on retrofitting suburbs with sustainable features – thus, the community can mobilize itself to take matters into their own hands.


2.) Facilitate a bottom-up participatory process that seeks solutions that address local issues as experienced by local people – not as prescribed by top-down government or ‘experts’. Once together, the community can use an ‘envisioning’ process to come up with a plan on how to bring about change.

  • SIGNIFICANCE: Instead of a top-down approach that uses ‘cookie-cutter’ methods that attempt to employ sustainability strategies to neighbourhoods, a bottom-up process recognises unique local sustainability challenges, and finds solutions that best match the needs of the neighbourhood.


3.) The process should seek to include as many members of the community as possible.

  • SIGNIFICANCE: Suburbs are diverse places, as explained in a previous post. Creating local community projects provides an excellent opportunity to be inclusive of that diversity, and allow for this diversity to breed innovative ideas, and fostering community cohesiveness within suburban areas that are lacking social capital.

4.) Holistic approaches that recognize the multi-faceted nature of complex community issues.

  • SIGNIFICANCE: Sustainability requires solutions that take into consideration the local economy, the environment, and social equity – failure to include all three is a failure to achieve sustainability.


5.) Should remain a process, not end up as the product. The goal here is not to simply implement community development, but rather to use community development as a tool or process to produce ongoing community improvement.

  • SIGNIFICANCE: This ensures that sustainable community development initiatives are resilient and can adapt to changing conditions to ensure that they continue to be sustainable. As tasks are completed and goals are met, new goals can be created to continue the process.

  

Toronto's uniquely diverse suburbs

May 3, 2010 8:40 AM
Aslam Shaikh

Trends in immigrant migration to Toronto suburbs

North America is experiencing a rapidly changing demographic. We are becoming much more multicultural, and in recent decades we have seen an increase in immigration especially from non-European countries.

Some facts collected by Citizenship and Immigration Canada:

  • Between 200,000 to 250,000 immigrate to Canada annually
  • Close to 60% speak English, around 5% speak French, about 10% speak both English & French
  • Nearly 30% of them do not speak English nor French – that accounted for nearly 70,000 people in 2008

With nearly half of its demographic attributed to immigration, Toronto has recognised that it is in fact an exceptionally multicultural city. History has shown immigrants moving into inner-city neighbourhoods, and this trend is still prevalent in many American cities. Trends in Canadian immigration during recent decades have shown a shift in this pattern, with many new immigrants settling right into the suburbs, and previous waves of immigrants moving into the suburbs as well.

A study by so-so shows that immigrants prior to 1971 settled into inner-city neighbourhoods just east and west of the downtown Toronto core. As many of these inner-cities revitalized due to increased inner-city activity by immigrants, there was a shift by immigrant populations towards suburban areas, as they sold their gentrified properties in exchange for larger suburban homes. By 2006, the majority of new immigrants began to settle in the suburbs.

The diagram below shows the spatial distribution of immigrant settlement patterns, comparing the period from 1965 – 1971 (Map 1 – inset), to the period from 2001 – 2006 (Map 2).

Source: Murdie (2008) Diversity & Concentration in Canadian Immigration


The unique challenges for Toronto suburbs

The challenge for suburbs involves how to actively accommodate a changing diverse immigrant population. An answer to this can come from en embracing of the diversity advantage. The advantage here refers to the innovation that is brought about through the interaction of a diverse pool of talent.

The diagram on the left illustrates the ‘traditional’ way of thinking – a monogamous team coming up with the same ‘inside-the-box’ solutions. The diagram on the right, illustrates the advantage in embracing diversity, and encouraging innovation through diverse thinking. Such new ways of thinking and doing will be key in seeking new means of urban resiliency.

For suburbs, this requires an engagement of the diversity of its population, combining their individual experiences and ways of thinking together. Doing so presents itself with the opportunity to increase our capacity for discovering new and different problem solutions, by combining together the best talents, skills, aptitudes of different people, and having them collaborate together.

A principle of sustainability states that we must provide for the needs of our current generation, while ensuring that the needs of future generations will also be met. It is in this principle that sustainability compels us to strive to be more inclusive of our population – due to our population being so diverse, if we do not actively seek the means to engage the diverse population, then we will fail in being able to provide for that population, hence not meeting the key principle of sustainability.

Social Resiliency & The Diversity Advantage

This podcast focuses on two main ideas. First I discuss the notion that the social tenet of sustainability is underdeveloped compared to the environmental and economic aspects. I then explore the ways that social sustainability is, in fact, intrinsically linked to the entire concept of sustainability. Second, I make an argument in favour for the concept of the diversity advantage as a means of achieving all areas of sustainability, including socially.

Download the podcast HERE

  

April 2010


The placelessness of suburban living

Apr 26, 2010 1:35 AM
Aslam Shaikh

The picture above shows the typical cul-de-sac that many have come to associate with post-WW2 suburbs. The particular subdivision shown above was constructed only three years ago, perhaps suggesting that we are continuing to plan unsustainable suburbs, even despite the strides in sustainable planning we have achieved since the onslaught of the first suburban neighbourhoods.

As expressed in the previous post – suburbs were not designed for humans, they were designed for the automobile. Its no wonder then that for many who reside in the suburbs, it becomes hard to attach a sense of ‘place’ to where they live. Suburbs show the qualities of what Edward Relph explains to be placelessness – spaces that lack place (see: Relph, Place and Placelessness). These spaces are “lacking both diverse landscapes and significant places”, that featured a monotonous and meaningless geography. This isn’t to say that there are no places to go in the suburbs – indeed there are, if you’re willing to drive.

I decided to take a psychogeographical tour on my way to a nearest local shopping ‘place’, which is the only decent place close to this neighbourhood to get a bit of variety other than the endless roads and houses of the subdivision. What my intent to show here is that it is the physical design of suburbs that encourages the use of the automobile. I also want to show that, because they were designed for cars, there is a lack of a human pedestrian scale in these neighbourhoods. (See map below)

1.) This is where the journey begins. To the north of this neighbourhood is the highway 401, which effectively cut off access any nearby grocery shopping, retail, entertainment, or restaurants, that are just on the other side of the highway. The strip of undeveloped land to the southeast is the hydro tower belt that cuts diagonally across Scarborough – it also cuts off direct access to the closest nearby route that bridges over the highway. Because of this, as is the case in most suburban communities, the design of the neighbourhood encourages the use of the car to get to any nearby amenities, since it is incredibly inconvenient not to do so. The only choice for pedestrians here is to make my way south towards the only route that provides access to the nearby arterial roads.
Walking time thus far: 0 minutes

2.) Here lays the giant field of hydro towers. The grass here is barely kept, the field is void of trees or any kind of city beautification efforts, and they are empty of people or activity. The lack of an interesting environment makes this walk seem a lot longer, something you wouldn’t have to notice if you did your travelling by car.
Walking time thus far: 6 minutes

3.) Although the City of Toronto labels the local facility here as a community centre, a sign on the outside of the building labels itself as a ‘country club’, that features curling, an indoor tennis arena, and a banquet hall. I spoke with one of the employees here who told me that most of the users here don’t live anywhere near the neighbourhood. There is a highschool and an elementary school here as well, but both are completely barren in the evening. Large parking lots are located at the front of all three of these facilities, which discourage pedestrian activity in or around this area.
Walking time thus far: 8 minutes

4.) Upon reaching the arterial road at the end of this neighbourhood, you will find a small plaza with a convenience store (expensive groceries), a pub, and a couple fast-food spots. Pedestrians would also come across the nearest local TTC stop. The TTC mandates that pedestrians should not have to walk more than 15 minutes from their homes to the nearest transit stop – but some households here walk over 20 minutes. You can also cut your trip short by paying $3 for a one minute bus-ride across the bridge, but its hard to justify paying $3 for a trip this short.
Walking time thus far: 12 minutes

5.) The street crosses the highway here. Doing so involves crossing on on-ramp to get from one sidewalk to another, being mindful as cars zip by that are gaining speed as they enter the highway. Walking up to here from the last point, all you have to look at are endless cars speeding past you. As a pedestrian, you can feel that this area wasn’t designed with a pedestrian scale at all.
Walking time thus far: 21 minutes

6.) Finally, the final destination is reached arriving at the local SmartCentres! plaza complete with a Wal-Mart, a Cineplex, three sit-down restaurants, and a few smaller shops. Sadly, this is considered the local ‘public’ space to many in the community.

TOTAL WALKING TIME: 26 minutes

Its no wonder why everyone in the suburbs uses cars, it just takes much too long to walk to most destinations here. The travel on foot is also uninteresting, there is little to see, and little activity going on around you as you walk through many suburban neighbourhoods. Along the entire trip, you can certainly tell that the area wasn’t planned with pedestrians in mind. All of these factors contribute to making the suburban pedestrian experience rather miserable and inconvenient, making it harder to justify not simply opting for the automobile.

“Fixing the Great Mistake”

Finally, I’d like to leave you with this video created by StreetFilms as part of their “Fixing the Great Mistake” series. This episode, called “Autocentric Development”, shows New York City’s Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White discuss the effect that automobiles had on New York (and many other cities) – and how some people have suggested alternative street uses than using them only for driving. This video is a hint at some of the ideas I plan to discuss as this blog develops…

  

How the suburbs are experiencing separation anxiety

Apr 25, 2010 1:30 AM
Aslam Shaikh

In the previous entry, I explained that suburbs were causing to the sustainability challenges of peak oil, climate change, and declining social capital. Here, I want to develop my point about the lack of social capital amongst many suburban neighbourhoods. Social capital refers to the bonds, ties, networks and connections between people that allow for the exchange of information, ideas, and opportunities, which also foster cohesiveness, cooperation and innovation. In order to achieve social sustainability, communities need to be made to foster and maintain social capital.

For the better part of the past century, we have been becoming an increasingly urban world – more than half of the world’s population now reside in a city. Why have people increasingly preferred to live in cities? Alongside a long list of potential reasons, I would argue that the primary appeal for people to move to the city is economic; cities are places of economic opportunities. The fundamental feature of an economy is to facilitate the distribution of goods and services between humans. Economies promote humans to interact and develop a mutual interdependence with each other, and this comes out of the recognition that a greater quality of life is attainable through human cooperation and economic efficiency. The most successful human settlements, then, are those that facilitate the most amount of social and economic interaction, which in turn encourages attaining the common goal of improving people’s quality of life.

Somewhere along the way, cities began to be designed not for humans, but for the automobile. Living in a community meant less about your shared interactions and common effort, but instead became about sharing nothing more than a geographic neighbourhood with a designated name and having little in common. People became cocooned in their homes, communities became segregated and divided by highways, and people lost touch with each other.

What we lost with suburbia are the qualities that made cities attractive to us and successful in the first place: the social interactions and connections that communal settlements originally made possible. These networks of reciprocal social relations are the ‘social capital’ that increases our individual and collective productivity, and ultimately our quality of life. Robert Putnam describes how suburbanization encouraged North Americans to segregate into communities based on their common socioeconomic statuses. He explains that this had an effect of slowing the creation of ‘bridging’ social capital, which occurred when humans of diverse backgrounds and lifestyles make social ties with each other. These ‘bridging’ ties are the means by which humans learn to be more accommodating of diversity. By learning to embrace each other’s difference, we are able to achieve a diversity advantage. This advantage occurs when diverse populations come together and exchange their unique experiences, talents, and ways of thinking, and foster innovation as a result of this collaboration. Without this bridging capital, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure social sustainability.

The suburbs are experiencing a separation anxiety; by disconnecting people from each other, hindering their ability to achieve a diversity advantage. 65 years after suburban sprawl began, we haven’t done much to change this pattern of human settlement in North America. The results of this way of living has been examined, argued, and evidenced during the past few decades: peak oil consumption, climate change, and growing social inequity.

  

What is wrong with suburban living?

Apr 24, 2010 12:02 PM
Aslam Shaikh

Some of the most significant challenges of urban sustainability came about because of the automobile and suburban sprawl. As Fordism made the automobile increasingly affordable for most families, it became more feasible to deal with the post-WWII housing demand boom by planning sprawling suburbs surrounding many North American cities.

A lot of the issues in suburban living come about due to the physical form that is unique to suburbs, including:

  • A DEPENDENCY ON THE AUTOMOBILE to travel to most places in the suburbs. Enclosed cul-de-sacs connect to long winding roads, which connect to distant arterial streets, that connect to major thoroughfares that make travelling to the city core for work a daily reality for many suburban residents.
  • A DOMINANCE OF PRIVATE SPACES. Residential subdivisions are filled with private single-detached homes. Suburban “public” spaces are considered the malls and shopping plazas, which are often not located within walking distance of suburban neighbourhoods. Small parks are often located next to public schools, and become vacant of activity during evenings or weekends.
  • SINGLE-USE ZONING; for example, huge neighbourhoods zoned as purely residential with little variety. From here, you drive to nearby regional shopping centers zoned as purely commercial, or to mundane industrial parks zoned as purely industrial.  Suburban areas are often highly homogeneous in their zoning

As the suburbs grew, so did their reliance on the automobile to get them around in neighbourhoods where often you couldn’t really walk to local amenities without a car. At the same time, people continued to move into suburbs as former farm lands continued to be converted to suburban use, further creating dependency on the car, as people became increasingly located further from the downtown, yet still depended on the downtown for employment.

What has been the effect of living in the suburbs?

  • PEAK OIL: Gasoline prices continue to reach new highs, as demand steadily rises while the oil producers find are experiencing difficulty finding ample supplies of fossil fuels. As suburbs continue to grow, so too does our demand on dwindling supplies of oil to power the cars needed to travel to and around the suburbs.
  • CLIMATE CHANGE: CO2 emissions create a ‘greenhouse’ effect, trapping heat that rises and attempts to escape the Earth’s atmosphere. Due to increasing CO2 emissions (largely from automobile usage) less heat is able to escape the atmosphere, thus contributing to climate change throughout the planet.
  • DECLINED SOCIAL CAPITAL: A problem unique to suburbs are their encouragement of private lifestyles and discouragement of engagement with neighbours or other people outside in public spaces or on streets. As a result, there tends to be a lack of community cohesion in suburban neighbourhoods.

Revitalizing suburbs: where do we begin?

I firmly believe that revitalizing the suburbs with sustainable solutions will require massive transit investment, converting regional malls into miniature suburban nodes to create a polycentric city, rezoning along major suburban corridors for multiple and more intensive uses, and the creation of higher density living and working environments within the suburbs.

However, I think that this type of change will take years, careful planning, and a plenty of politics. Instead, what I am attempting to achieve here is how suburban neighbourhoods can build sustainable, resilient solutions, working with what they have, where they live, right now. To this end, this blog proposes one solution as to of how suburban communities can get to work today to begin to face the challenges to sustainability that are particularly unique to suburban living.

  

 

 

About the author

This blog was created by Aslam Shaikh, Masters candidate from the School of Urban & Regional Planning at Ryerson University, in Toronto, Canada.

 

What this blog is about

This blog explores a fundamental problem with suburban neighbourhoods: their lack of place – their placelessness. A first step for suburban cities in their journey to become more sustainable involves creating a sense of place attachment between the neighbourhood and its residents. A major challenge in retrofitting the suburbs with sustainable solutions is that they can be cold, soulless places that are hard to care about.

I believe that as people begin to care more about the places they live, they will begin to care more about seeking out measures for how to improve these places and make them better, friendlier communities. As a greater sense of place is fostered, I believe that suburban communities can then take the next steps towards working collectively to come up with new sustainable solutions, and ensuring their resiliency into the future.

This blog considers how we can begin thinking about "Building Urban Resilience where you live with what you have.”  With this concept in mind, this blog explores how urban resilience can be built into our neighbourhoods, using ideas that anyone can begin to implement themselves, without any official assistance, and without having to completely uproot the system.

 
 
 
 
 
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