Between the City of Waterloo's recent wrapping up of the public consultation phase on their draft neighbourhood strategy and being in the midst of reading this month's book club chapter which talks about how our sense of place attachment is connected to the quality of our relationships where we live, I have been thinking about neighbours and how to be a good one.
It's not too surprising, then, that a recent segment on CTV news got me wondering about how real estate developers might be good neighbours, too. This community is gearing up for a lot more growth, which will likely mean more development, so what responsibility do developers have beyond creating buildings for the growing population to live in? How can developers be good neighbours, too?
Developers can actively seek input from community members and this type of conversation happens best face-to-face – by going door to door or hosting public consultations, for example. Following consultation, the original plan can be revised accordingly to show community members that their voices do, indeed, matter.
Most importantly, consultation with various Indigenous persons in essential. Development would be happening on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnawbe, and Haudenosaunee peoples.
I have been a member of the Region of Waterloo's Public Art Advisory Committee for the last five years and some of our conversations have been about the private sector's contribution to public art in this community. Developers might think about how art - both within and outside of their developments - enhance the look and feel of their building, as well as add to the Region's public art collection and vision.
New developments could broker relationships between generations, or across socio-economic status through mixed-income housing. Both ideas come with challenges, but the opportunity here is that bringing people together who might not have otherwise been neighbours has the potential to promote understanding and compassion among community members.
What are some of your ideas about how developers can be good neighbours?