Don’t you feel it growing day by day? People getting ready for the news. Some are happy, some are sad … oh … we got to let the music play. What the people need is a way to make em’ smile. It ain’t so hard to do if you know how. Gotta get a message, get it on through … oh now mama don’t you ask me why …
If these words look all to familiar it’s because many of us listened to the Doobie Brothers growing up. This tune titled “Listen to the Music” fired me up during an ocean-side walk recently and got me thinking. Do we underestimate the power of the arts, particularly music and visual arts – like murals? Listen to the Music
If we carefully consider a lot of what’s going on in the world these days, the fear factor can often be overwhelming. If we take a moment to think about how Covid-19 has changed our lives, or even the chaos of what is transpiring south of our border it’s enough to send anyone into shock!
This is why I remain committed to using the arts in all of our projects. It brings life to our work – plain and simple. Whether it’s a live concert under a bridge or a street mural in a grungy back alley – it’s a game changer!
It’s no accident that we’ve fused the arts into our Full SPECTRUM approach to Community Safety and Well-Being. Honestly, it’s the secret sauce or recipe for success in providing a sense of calm in every project we roll out. While using Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) has always led to favourable outcomes in our projects it just wasn’t enough – we wanted to go that extra mile. This was the beauty of fusing several best practices, and embracing BC’s Healthy Built Environment (HBE) Toolkit.
We’re extremely fortunate to have our partner consultant Pam Moore leading the charge in this area. Pam was a former HBE Specialist for the BC Interior Health Authority, and remains passionate about the critical connection between our built environment and our health.
Placemaking rounds out our Full SPECTRUM approach, and brings that magic to the places and spaces in our lives. Once again, it’s no accident that we’ve integrated Placemaking into our process. Our team is made up of several placemakers, including our founder Lorne Daniel, who also founded the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network. We’re also fortunate to have Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff onboard with us. We all have a passion for transforming public space.
The time for a paradigm shift is now! Jonathan Barnett and Larry Beasley provide all of us with a wake-up call. In their book titled “Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs” they write about the great irony of modern times.
As the majority of people in the world have shifted to living in cities, we have evolved a form of city that is not very hospitable to our everyday needs. As we blanket the world with these cities, we have evolved a form of urbanism that is not compatible with our environment. Our settlements and their settings are in a state of profound contradiction. The more people move to cities and suburbs, the less satisfactory they become, and place increasing stress on the operating system of our whole planet. Ultimately, this is a dangerous situation.
So, as you move about your city think about how you can get more involved. Challenge the systems and the various levels of bureaucracy that hold us back. While many governments, and municipalities have come a long way in the last few years – it’s still about controlling this process. When control becomes part of the equation we have given away our power, and most importantly our creativity.
Embrace the Power of the Arts and have a Safe, and Healthy 2021