The next decade will allow each of us to inspire each other to create positive change in our cities. There are so many important issues to tackle we can’t expect our various levels of government or our police services to solve it alone. Authentic collaboration will be required, and we must challenge ourselves and those we know to step out of our comfort zones. While Canada is still considered a very safe country we can’t be complacent!
With so much polarization and fear in the world – it’s time to embrace all the good work that’s being done by so many. We talk a lot about self-care, and that’s terrific, but is it enough? We need Community Care to Thrive! Exploring all the possibilities and sifting through what works and what doesn’t is not a simple task! Some cities are in crisis, higher crime rates, addictions, homelessness and mental health concerns have become common place. In some cases, this has reached tragic proportions. We can all make a difference and we must do our best to try harder – it’s time!
While we can’t deny there are Messy Cities amongst us there are ways to channel our ideas, share our resources and bridge existing gaps. I had the honour of working closely with several incredible leaders last year, Amanda Ng, a Health Planner with our Capital Regional District and Jade Yia, a Built Environment Consultant with Island Health. A 1-day workshop on Creating Healthy and Safe Communities was planned for last fall and was a great success: See the Final Report!
While the connection to health and our built environment is key, there are other promising initiatives that should also be carefully considered. There is no question that Arts and Culture play an important role in every city around the globe. The outcomes from successful projects are evident everywhere, you only need to look around. We love the fact that these success stories can touch and connect people in the public realm and do so beyond our wildest expectations. We recently partnered with the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network and the City of Victoria and planned two special events last summer and fall.
Sofa Surprise brought people together and encouraged them to enjoy some unlikely spaces in beautiful, Victoria, BC. We met some fantastic people and had some incredible fun. You can see some of these initiatives by visiting our new YouTube Channel. Keep your eyes on Nanaimo too, I had the pleasure of meeting two incredible change makers there last year. Check out Humanity in Art.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s make a difference together.
Photos by Steve Woolrich – All Rights Reserved
First published at Rethink Urban
Guest Author Bio
For almost 30 years Steve Woolrich has established a reputation for excellence in his professional pursuits. He studied Justice Administration, majoring in Police Science at Mount Royal University. Steve completed additional studies at Kean College, New Jersey and worked with the New York Police Department as part of his practicum during the summer of 1984. His passion for youth drew him to working in corrections where he could have a dramatic impact while teaching life skills at a bootcamp in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Steve’s education, training and experience then led him into various corporate security roles and specialized security services in oil and gas, retail and armoured transport for almost two decades. He was instrumental in developing creative strategies, policies and procedures focusing on life safety and asset protection before relocating to Victoria, BC in 2016.
Steve is considered a leading expert in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and is also trained in SafeGrowth®. He has been applying CPTED methodology in his work since 1999 and has a keen interest in social issues and community development throughout Canada and abroad. His focus during the last few years has been on creating healthy and safe built environments. Steve supports Restorative Approaches, Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP) and is a trained Peace Circle Facilitator.
Steve is a collaborator and is drawn to organizations and leaders that are actively engaged in their communities. He is a director with the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, currently serving his 3rd term and striving to help create safe and compassionate streets in a city he now calls home. He specializes in developing positive strategies for Gang Reduction and Graffiti Abatement and has made a personal commitment to creating engaging urban spaces by initiating Street Piano initiatives that continue to inspire other cities to ‘pick up the tune.’ Steve is an avid supporter of Arts and Culture and continues to draw on his passion for creativity to enhance a wide-range of projects he undertakes.