Vancouver's Leader in Transition toward Strong, Resilient, Complete Communities
As we start planning for this season's community gardens, maybe we can also scheme and integrate other uses of this community space....
Like community peace gardens? This could be interpreted really broadly, but the main idea is a community garden that promotes a Culture of Peace.
Here's an example of an interesting initiative coming out of some communities in the Florida Keys:
Imagine gardens for food security, good old wholesome time outdoors in the dirt, soil and biodiversity, citizen science, community talks, intergenerational meeting places for sharing knowledge.....buildings blocks for community resilience, enviro-security and peace.
It could also be a way of contributing to ecological corridors and connectivity through urban greenspaces. Maybe community peace gardens and community peace parks could be strategically developed throughout the city and surrounding region to correspond with natural systems (possibly a mapping project for the Bioregional group?). Start small, think big?
We hope to have a new Community Commons in Riley Park this spring. It will be a collaborative community food garden with space for public performance and gatherings, seemingly a perfect space for promoting peace-work. To see what it will look like, visit this page of this site. You can download the PDF from there. We look forward to fully adapting this site for peaceful uses and the promotion of local and global peace.
Thanks for sending that Randy. It looks amazing. I hope that the proposal is accepted. If there is some interest in promoting the community peacebuilding aspects of this garden, maybe we can scheme a bit on the community activities that can be organized at the garden (on top of gardening of course) to realize that.
I think that location would be particularly interesting too because from what I understand Main Street's kind of the dividing line between East and West Vancouver. I'm new to this city though, so I could be wrong on that. But if it's true, that gives it an interesting transboundary element.
You read Vancouver like an open book (which it is not). The east-west divide is deep and pernicious, and indeed Main Street is the midpoint. (Actually, it's Ontario, but I won't quibble over two blocks.) Vancouver is also more than a dual city, but rather a conurbation of fragmented neighbourhoods with little holding them all together, let alone any cohesion within each community.
I do think these "boundary" zones like Main Street offer the perfect bridge between communities as well as a great meeting place for those close by. Our site is very close to the King Ed and Main bus routes so it can be reached easily from any direction.
Indeed our proposal includes a central stage and sitting area with the specific intent to gather people for art, poetry, music, workshops, and just interpersonal sharing. We will of course be programing this space as much as we can, but also allow it to be used as both neighbours and visitors like. Peacework has to be a strong focus, and we hope to make this a peaceful and respectful place, where dialogue and problem solving can be a common event.
That reminds me of the European Greenbelt Movement, which is all about creating transboundary parks along the Eastern Europe/Western Europe divide: http://www.greenbelteurope.eu/.
This could be an interesting concept applied at the city-level....and not just along the East-West divide, but amongst all of these fragmented neighborhoods that you're describing. The added layer of social space for community gathering that you've also mentioned would help to grow such a rich web of enviro-peacebuilding across this city.
Think green, linear corridors for wildlife (including humans). Many cities around the world, and considerable planning at the Metro Vancouver, BC, and federal level, have focussed on building or rebuilding wildlife corridors.
There are many thousands of examples of this, and why could this not be implemented within the city itself? There are already strong movements in Vancouver to reestablish stream beds ("blue ways"), and of course every permaculture space must consider how water flows through it. Water is of course a connector and "bridge" not just for wildlife (think Salmon!) but also for people. Look at how busy the waterfront is all around the lower mainland. Look how diverse the people are who seek out this water.
Great thoughts. Now, will the City loosen the death grip on "its" property and road space to help make this happen? We wait with baited breath.
Has anyone in Vancouver ever mapped its existing greenways and wildlife corridors? Or its historic corridors and habitats or landscapes?
Imagine re-wilding Vancouver, with a vision of its future drawn from a knowledge of its past.
The False Creek Watershed Society has done just that, at least for the north slope of Little Mountain and the Trout Lake drainage. Dozens of streams, many still flowing strongly and audibly in underground city sewer pipes, are known and their memory is being saved. There are also stream regeneration efforts, such as Musqueam Creek in the Southlands. People have been at this for decades, but the financial pull of property "development" (aka high-rise towers and high-priced glass and concrete condos) has derailed all such efforts to date. Sorry to say, it is just not currently in the City's culture to protect its natural heritage.
As for other wildlife corridors, I know many are worried about encouraging "too much nature." There are those who are afraid of coyotes, skunks, and even raccoons. Of course, it is true that many cats and even small dogs have met their demise in the jaws of coyotes. This is a risk, and managing expectations of safety around natural areas is certainly a priority. Welcome to real life.