KNIMBY – Knot in My Back Yard

Still at the footsteps of February 27th, I’ve heard a comment that the evening felt like we were scratching the surface. I can relate to that feeling after attending a variety of such gatherings: there’s a sense of repeating the same topics over and over again with hardly any progress. It might be true that community consultations promote discussions of little significance. In light of a growing urban population, pressing needs require swift action. For people who want to see change the frustration can raise the question whether we might be missing bigger opportunities.

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I think this question in itself is a good window for thought that should always be open. Thoughts lead to discussion; discussion to understanding; understanding to decisions and decisions to action. Action in turn brings the needed change. This is why I think that the Weaving project is great in promoting a change that is balanced and sensitive.

As density, liveability and mobility become the components of routine, many urban residents realize that collaboration for innovation is what makes a city succeed. Public realm is for many the main outdoors space close to home. As private space becomes limited, quality public realm becomes a necessity of life.

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The concerns and ideas raised by residents focused on the blocks along Broadway between Prince Edward and Prince Albert streets. The board was open for people to stick their notes and exchange ideas on the way to advance the discussion into possible solutions.

“No need for change” was also heard among remarks, requests, questions and thoughts. An interesting difference between speakers came up when considering the narrowing of Broadway into a four lane arterial from the six it currently is. On the one hand concern was expressed over the proposed reduction of parking space. This means interior streets will likely see an increase of shoppers’ vehicles at the expense of those of local residents. On the other, the increase of younger residents who do not own cars was mentioned. This trend implies a possible smaller need for accommodating private cars.

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Although resistance to change is a natural human trait we are connected whether we like it or not. This is why the prospect of shifting from NIMBY – Not in My Back Yard, to KNIMBY – Knot in My Back Yard might be a compelling and refreshing one. Change will happen. Our engagement in it is the knot that holds us in balance when we move together into a beneficial future.

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