Decades from now, when the next generation looks back in time for the turning point in Victoria’s urban design success, they may well single out the Regenerating the Urban Village community conversation with Mark Lakeman on May 11, 2015.
On that day, nearly 100 citizens, elected officials, city staff members, and design professionals came to a common understanding: We can not only predict the future. We can shape it.
Combined with the other earth-shaking design initiatives in the region, such as Charles Montgomery’s Happy City presentation in the GVCC February TransForm Speaker Series, the Urban Village session triggered a landslide of conversations around the region. In the last few weeks, citizens met with their neighbours about boulevard gardens, parents talked about increasing bike ridership among students, business owners asked how they could slow traffic on their streets, and neighbourhood associations wondered when and how they could prepare plans that reflect their own needs.
A word of acknowledgement to those who participated in the May 11 bike tour and subsequent design workshop. You played an important role in history. Many of you have asked the obvious question: What happens next?
As of this writing, the City of Victoria is assembling the many notes collected during the session, and will publish a report on the hundreds of astute observations, insightful suggestions, and post-it-note visions collected during the design charrette.
In addition, a group of the charrette facilitators is currently illustrating the key themes and principles of citizen-led planning as a companion to the City report. This offering will display in graphic format the constraints and opportunities of each of the five village sites (Rockland, Quadra-Kings, Haultain Corners, Begbie Green, and North Park) and two corridors (Vancouver Street and Haultain Street).
Materials will include a simple set of guidelines for the villages and corridors, elements that could assist city staff, developers, and neighbourhood associations in future planning.
We at the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network are committed to monitoring the ongoing design process and keeping the community informed. Watch for updates here on our website.
Guest Author Bio
I am trained as an urban planner and risk manager. These days, I am trying to move my community into a positive future through cycling, urban gardens, and placemaking.