Day 11: Dreaming of a healthy Waterloo Region


I’m a dreamer!

Waterloo Region is awesome. We’re blessed to be living in such a healthy community.

Yet I’m constantly looking for ways to make things around me better. Even as I celebrate all that is awesome in Waterloo Region, I continue to push to make it even better.

Day 11 of the 12 Days for Good: DREAMING12 days for good  2013

Today’s the eleventh day of the 12 Days for Good coordinated as a pay it forward campaign by the House of Friendship. On Twitter? Follow all the goodness by following #12daysforgood and contribute your own good deeds too!

Today’s theme is “Dreaming” which is described as to hold true to a vision which gives wings to hope and compassion during difficult times and  yields inspiration and prosperity during good times

My vision for a healthy Waterloo Region

I’m introspective by nature. That helps explain why many of my posts have some connection to me. I’m trying to show how my perspectives are formed.

While this section of this post may seem to be all about me, hang in there for the payoff.

I’ve been working on this post in various forms since I took a break from community building earlier this year. I’ve had many conversations with other community builders about how we can make Waterloo Region the best it can be.

Here’s where I’m at.

Words that describe my vision

Since starting this blog four and a half years ago, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to concisely describe what it is about. I write about many topics that fit together as dependent parts of a big picture but pinning it down to something easily understandable and meaningful has been tricky because I see all of those topics as part of a cohesive whole.

Progressive. I self identify as a progressive. Pragmatist. I also believe strongly in pursuing the art of the possible. I find though that progressive and pragmatic don’t overlap as much as I  prefer. So while I see myself as centre left that doesn’t scream vision.

Urbanist. That’s pretty good especially as broadly outlined in the Charter for Canadian UrbanismIt incorporates things that I care about such as smart growth, being smart on crime by addressing its root causes, preserving our heritage through adaptive reuse and environmental sustainability. It includes the concepts of successful people places through place making that involves the participation and engagement of a community’s citizens and encourages grassroots efforts.

Yet by specifying “urban living,” it sounds too limiting. Given the importance or our rural communities, I also see myself as a “ruralist.”

But as I’ve talked about over the last 10 days, I believe in building a healthy community which benefits us all: To me that means making decisions based upon the social determinants of health and includes a social justice orientation including helping those struggling or disadvantaged in our community such as those living in poverty.

I’ve never wanted to be “the heritage guy” or “the transportation guy” or “the crime prevention guy.” Some times I feel like “the parking guy.” While those words describe me and things I care about, I’m much more interested in the big picture.

I’m “a healthy community guy” (which implies not the only one!).

Let’s build a healthy Waterloo Region together!

An important take away from my series of chats with community builders was to figure out how pursuing a healthy Waterloo Region could be clearly about more than me and my perspectives.

At the same time, many individuals and groups have strong interests in specific, key pieces needed to solve the healthy community puzzle.

Let’s find a way to work together for the greater good of building a healthy Waterloo Region. Let’s celebrate its awesomeness while building towards an even better future that benefits all its citizens.

Let’s take our specialties, our expertise and our general interests to find ways to enhance the big picture of a healthy Waterloo Region.

That’s my dream. Let’s make it our dream!

Introducing “Building a healthy Waterloo Region”

As a first step, I’ve created a new online paper called “Building a healthy Waterloo Region.”

It’s a curated collection of information relevant to working towards enhancing our healthy communities. Mostly gleaned from links shared on Twitter, it includes Canadian and international urbanists, transit and cycling advocates, various local community builders, charities, media and other interesting sources on community building.

I’m not deciding what is included each day–that is left to Paper.li–but I’m curating it by pointing it in the right directions and including a good mix of voices without any dominating regularly.

The idea is that it’ll provide food for though on where we are at, where we’re collectively going and how we’ll get there (or at least options to consider.) I see it as a nonpartisan zone though you may occasionally see politicians included.

Watch for a new edition each day at 4 p.m. It’ll be shared on Twitter and Facebook but you can also subscribe.

Have something you think should be included, for now the best way is to use the hashtag #bhWR since the paper is set up to look for tweets with links using that hashtag.

What do you think?

Can we build a healthy Waterloo Region together?

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