Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Century of the Neighborhood

Taking a break from deliberations at the 2015 SafeGrowth Summit
Engaged citizens from around the world
Four months ago I posted about President Obama’s eulogy following a racial massacre in South Carolina.

This morning we heard news of another massacre, this by terrorists in Paris. In today’s global village a tragedy for one is a tragedy for all. From that view, these are times of storms.

“When you come out of the storm,” said novelist Murakami, “you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”


Last week a small group of SafeGrowth advocates and some likeminded friends from around the world mapped a new way out of these storms in the first-ever SafeGrowth Summit.

One of the SafeGrowth work teams - two day of visioning the future
We met encircled by Canada’s Rocky Mountains in Canmore, Alberta. Hailing from different countries and cities small and large, participants included residents, artists, planners, police officers,  architects, criminologist, activists, but mostly active and engaged citizens.

Our task? Search for practical paths that build community resilience and lead away from crime and violence.

Four diverse teams found their own ideal visions. One crafted neighborhood hubs, a 21st Century shared public gathering space far beyond today’s community center. Another began building a tailored style of hands-on curricula to educate a new generation of neighborhood leaders.

Each team resonated with the idea that it is within the geography of the neighborhood where solutions arise.

Local graffiti artists running their first-ever art show for Summit participants
Following the Summit participants shared their ideas with residents of the 12 CSI Neighbourhoods at a social event on Calgary’s International Avenue, an event punctuated by the inspiring art show of local graffiti artists and music from a youth quartet from Calgary's Multiculural Orchestra.

We are writing Summit results to publish a book in the spring. For now teamwork continues; it continues to frame a way out of the storms of violence, crime and intolerance facing us in the years ahead. And it continues to verify, once and for all, the 21st Century belongs to the neighborhood.

Last day performance by a youth quartet from the Calgary Multicultural Orchestra 

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