It has become very popular for City Planners to use the term “vibrant” to describe some ideal state which all cities should strive to achieve in order to thrive. But what exactly are “vibrant cities”? What are the characteristics of these cities which make them so “ideal”?
Essentially, to achieve vibrancy, cities should be seen as a community of neighborhoods, celebrating their roots while at the same time, embracing the future and its coming changes nimbly. Therefore, cities must strive to be home to a well-designed infrastructure capable of incorporating housing, commerce, transportation, schools, health and hospital facilities, and cultural institutions. Cities should also serve as a resilient backbone for information and disaster recovery. The key here is to foster a sense of security at the community level, and this requires meaningful interconnection between people and place.
Eventually, the continued improvement and expansion of neighbourhoods and communities stimulates creativity and innovation which in turn leads to growth and prosperity at the city level. Therefore, if City-wide growth and vibrancy is the goal, then neighbourhoods throughout the city must continuously adapt and change to accommodate newcomers, growing families and the evolving needs of the community. Building new homes is one of the ways that neighbourhoods can help accommodate growth.
When home building occurs on the peripheral of the city or in established neighborhoods, new connections are formed between people and place as individuals try to establish security in their new environment. While most of us benefit from a growing city, some of us are uncomfortable with the idea of having to adapt to a new environment and re-establish our sense of security and place in our own neighbourhoods. While this discomfort is understandable – as there is some level of disruption involved – there are also a few important things to consider:
Living in a community that is under construction isn’t easy, like change itself, but neighbourhoods new and old need to evolve. To keep Regina growing and to achieve a state of vibrancy we need to welcome change and that means we must adapt to new and different housing forms to accommodate an increasingly diverse growing community.