Municipal government is often said to be the closest to people. Fundamentally the decisions made at the municipal level are about the places we call home. When I ask people what they love about their communities the list is almost always the same. They love that they know their neighbours. They love that they can walk down tree lined streets or are close to natural areas. And they love that they are close to school, or work, or a local coffee shop or restaurant.
As our City changes and our communities evolve, these are the priorities we need to hold on to. We don’t always realize it, but design decisions have a profound impact on how frequently we’ll see or talk to our neighbours and our feelings of safety. We have no excuses for designing any building, park, local street or major attraction without considering how it does, or does not, foster neighbourliness. How we allocate, protect and enhance natural areas and green space will become even more important as we increase population and density. And finally keeping those neighbourhood schools open and our local businesses thriving requires attracting people at all ages, and stages of life and having the housing diversity to keep them in our neighbourhoods throughout their lives.