I’m having a little trouble with the “community” posts here. I was hoping originally to give a weekly update of what I have been doing in the community when I’m not in Council meetings, to give people a better idea of what Council life is like. It is also (apparently) obligatory for politicians to post regular pictures of themselves smiling in the community to remind people that they exist. So mix those together, I figure, and it can be all about Pat once a week.
Two problems: much of what I do is boring subject matter for a blog post, and doesn’t necessarily come with a good photo. If I summarize most evenings, it looks like this:
With a fair smattering of this:
And, if I’m lucky, occasional moments of excitement like this:
Which is all positive, good stuff, but not usually compelling blog info.
The second problem is I usually forget to take photos. #BadPolitician.
So once a week became one every fortnight, and occasionally irregular, and by then there are 20 events piled up and I get this long-winded “Community” post with many dull things and terrible photos.
So I’m going to try to post more frequently with very short posts, essentially Instagram-style, maybe as often as one every couple of days, between my regular posts that are more topic-based. As a result, I may put a few in the queue and have them come out on a regular basis, not necessarily the day the events occur, to sort of meter these things out. Let’s see how this works.
My big highlight last weekend was giving a Jane’s Walk on Saturday. I blended talking about history (of which I know little), architecture (of which I know less) and geology (or which I know a lot) in a talk and walk looking at building stones of New West.
As it was a Jane’s Walk, I also interspersed my talking part with a few quotes from Jane Jacobs’ monumental book on the nature of neighbourhoods The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Including this one, where I asked my walkers to think and chat about whether New Westminster fits the bill to realize its full potential:
To generate exuberant diversity in a city’s streets and districts, four conditions are indispensable:
1. The district, and indeed as many of its internal parts as possible, must serve more than one primary function; preferably more than two. These must insure the presence of people who go outdoors on different schedules and are in the places for different purposes, but who are able to use many facilities in common.
2. Most blocks must be short; that is, streets and opportunities to turn corners must be frequent.
3. The district must mingle buildings that vary in age and condition, including a good proportion of old ones so that they vary in the economic yield they must produce. This mingling must be fairly close-grained.
4. There must be a sufficiently dense concentration of people, for whatever purpose they may be there. This includes dense concentration in the case of people who are there because of residence.
In combination, these four conditions create effective economic pools of use. The potentials of different districts differ for many reasons; but, given the development of these four conditions, a city district should be able to realize its best potential, wherever that may lie.
By this accounting, we are doing pretty well…