Put Yourself In Our Shoes: Using Empathy to Build Walkable Cities

About a year ago, I wrote a post about how urban design can impact a person’s sense of dignity. The issue has been on my mind regularly since.

I think about it every day, actually. My research involves understanding how people perceive urban environments. A study I wrapped up this semester examined how being in the presence of skyscrapers affects mood and stress. Considering the rate of urbanization and the trend of building upwards as a method of urban densification, I thought it would be prudent to explore this issue in more depth.

And so, I spend my days thinking about how our cities make us feel and how we can use psychological methods to help inform how we build them to support wellness. The deeper I go into this research, the more I realize that urban design transcends being just built structures or concrete roadways. There’s a qualitative, personal aspect of built environments that I think often evades the people who design them.

Marshall McLuhan is famously quoted as saying that the “message is in the medium”. If we were to accept that urban infrastructure is a communicative medium, what is it that we are telling people? Furthermore, are we being empathetic in communicating with them? Are we considering how they feel?

We need the people who design our cities to think long and hard about this. Perhaps they do, but if my surroundings are any indication of empathic design, then they’re failing horribly at implementing it. I’ve been in Kitchener-Waterloo for about a year. I sold my car before I came here and so I’ve spent this past year as a pedestrian, cyclist and transit user. I’ve been trying to walk more, lately, but it’s usually… how should I put it…not the best experience.  I can count on having a negative encounter almost every day. I often feel disregarded, seeing vehicular movement being prioritized at traffic crossings (if anyone gets an advance signal, it should be pedestrians). We have beautiful trails that have no crossing infrastructure when they meet roadways, giving vehicles the right of way while putting trail users in harm’s way as they try to sprint across high traffic roads without being hit. Construction signs regularly obstruct sidewalks with little thought put into a safe detour for pedestrians. We’re bluntly told to “use other sidewalk”. And, at least in those areas there are sidewalks. Not too far from my house, there’s a strip of amenities on a high speed roadway (Victoria Street) that are inaccessible to those without cars. If you can’t afford to drive, it seems your safety and dignity don’t matter. I regularly see people walking on the grass to these amenities as cars speed by. They even have bus stops on this street – I don’t understand what they expect transit users to do when they get off the bus. Occasionally I see people pushing walkers and baby carriages over a muddy lawn that is soon to be covered in snow and ice. And this issue isn’t unique to KW. I saw it all the time in Edmonton when I lived there. I get frustrated by it when I visit my hometown of Saanich, BC.

All of these cities are trying to tout walkability and they haven’t given pedestrians the basic tools to do so. We’re being set up to fail. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Yesterday, I saw that 22 pedestrians were hit by cars in Toronto. IN ONE DAY.

Car culture is injuring and killing Canadians on a regular basis and we do nothing about it. We occasionally get words of condolence, but nothing more. We need to treat this problem with the attention and respect it deserves. We can’t afford more people getting hurt or killed.

Maybe the solution involves having the policy makers and urban designers who build our cities actually try to navigate them as pedestrians. On a regular basis. Perhaps if they walked a mile in our shoes, we’d have the walkable cities they like to talk about and communities that are safe and inclusive for everyone. It’s a matter of life and death. We need action. Now.

UPDATE: Here’s audio from my interview with Eric Drozd on walkability and urban design:

 

Make Something Lean: Applying Lean Thinking to Community Building

So… it’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. February flew by, and March was a time of change. I recently started a new job and I am currently packing for a move at the end of the month. Suffice to say, I’ve been busy. It holds true that Spring is a time of renewal – at least for me.

My new job is with New Venture at NAIT. I’m working with an amazing team of people to promote startup culture and support student entrepreneurship on campus. The position marries my passion for working with students and my love for innovation. Dreams.

Just last week we hosted our Hatch Startup Challenge Reception, where we awarded more than $30,000 in startup funding to student businesses. The diversity of the applications was impressive! Winners included an aboriginal-run morel mushroom distributor (the stuff is like gold) and a device that keeps pipes from bursting when temperatures drop. Students were also awarded space and mentorship in our Hatchery incubator. I can’t wait to start working with them.

The methodology we use in our work to support students is the “Lean Startup” approach. The framework provides a simple and easy way to get business ideas off of the ground. It challenges the notion that businesses need to spend countless hours developing a static business plan.

According to the Lean approach, businesses should be treated more like experiments that test hypotheses. Typically, these hypotheses are based on customer feedback. Entrepreneurs should be out surveying potential customers about their experiences to ensure that the business idea is solving a problem. If it isn’t solving a problem, chances are it won’t gain much traction. An innovative idea doesn’t necessarily translate into good business. This system of acquiring constant feedback allows businesses to be nimble and responsive.

Part of getting customer feedback involves getting some form of product out to market as quickly as possible. This product is referred to as the minimal viable product (MVP). This process allows businesses to understand what or what doesn’t work with their product. It’s like applying Darwinian theory to the product development process. If a product feature doesn’t serve a purpose, it’s got to go. It also helps entrepreneurs develop a business case when they go to investors for financing.

A good example of an MVP is how AirBnB started. The founders didn’t launch their business with a fancy website with all of the features they have today, but rather a simple website that had pictures of their apartment and details on how to rent it. This gave the founders an opportunity to test their product without investing a ton of money initially. Another example of this would be how some restaurants start out by having “pop up shops” before having an official brick and mortar location. Drift Food Truck did this and just recently opened up Dovetail Deli.

This type of thinking really appeals to me. Not only because I feel it is a great way to stay fresh and innovative but also because I have tendency to be impatient. Sometimes it’s better to get out there and just get things done. The Lean approach can extend beyond business development. When I reflected on the methodology, I realized that many Make Something Edmonton projects could be considered MVPs. They typically don’t cost much money to get off the ground and they tend to solve a problem the community is experiencing.

sitnchill

credit: Lexi Saffel (https://www.flickr.com/photos/neondecember/)

Take the Sit N Chill Bench near the High Level Bridge for example. It was evident that there was a need for a place to rest at that particular location. I’m sure there was a process to request a bench from the city, but I assume it would take a lot of time and paperwork. So, someone took initiative and fabricated a bench made of plywood and milk crates. Then, it broke. And someone else followed up by making one out of concrete. Now we have a beautiful and permanent place to… sit n chill.

Last September, I was a part of a group of people who put on the 102 ave Pop Up Bike Lane. In my opinion, the pop up bike lane was an MVP of sorts. It involved pylons and flower planters. I think our budget was roughly around $1000. It didn’t have the bells and whistles of the bike lane that is planned on being built (which I am very excited for), but it had the bare bone features of a separated bike lane which gave people an idea of what the final product could be like to use.

I could go on and on. Edmonton is full of ideas and initiatives that could be considered “lean”. Peruse the project section on the Make Something Edmonton website (which is up for a Webby award. Vote here) to see other examples.

Here’s my condensed step by step guide to lean community building aka “Making Something Lean”:

1) Do you experience a problem that others experience?

2) Can you think of a simple and easy way to address it?

3) Do it and put your project up on the Make Something Edmonton website.

Let me know what you think. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Also, I was recently interviewed by the Primal Blueprint Podcast to talk about some of the projects I’ve been involved in. Listen here.

Thanks for reading!

Robin

yegsnowfight: We made something, Edmonton.

Last Sunday, I witnessed something magical. It was perhaps the most “Edmonton” experience I’ve had since moving to this city in 2012.

In October, I was tweeting back and forth with a (then) stranger about having a snowball fight. I had recently watched the Human Scale documentary, in which they showed a spontaneous snowball fight which erupted in Times Square in New York. It looked like so much fun. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a snowball fight, so I was determined to get one going in Edmonton with some friends.

comic

credit: Sam Hester (https://twitter.com/calgaryhester)

Soon after our twitter conversation, in early November, Jeff Chase and I decided to meet for a drink and talk about having a snowball fight. I remember us talking about how it would be tough to wrangle up 50 people for a snowball fight, so we decided to get our idea up on a Make Something Edmonton page. We wanted to have a spontaneous snowball fight, similar to the one in New York. We decided to collect phone numbers by email, which we would later send a text message to with details of where and when the snowball fight would take place.

Screenshot_2014-12-14-20-54-38~2

We posted the project on Tuesday, November 4th. By the end of that week, #yegsnowfight was trending on twitter in Edmonton. We had numerous inquiries from all of the media outlets in Edmonton. Emails were STREAMING in. I remember watching our gmail account and seeing new emails fly in by the second. It was unbelievable.

snowfightrobin

It’s safe to say that neither Jeff nor I anticipated the idea getting so much traction. We spent the next week or so speaking to newspaper journalists, television reporters, and radio hosts about #yegsnowfight. We even had coverage in Calgary. We thought that the emails would stop coming in when we reached around 1000 numbers… Nope. Pretty much right up until we announced the event last Saturday, emails were still rolling in. I think our final count was around 3000 numbers. Our Facebook post was seen by about 27 000 people. When we announced the event on Saturday, #yegsnowfight was trending nationally on twitter. I personally think #yegsnowfight demonstrated the positive community building potential of social media – I learned a lot about the application of social media in the process of planning and promoting the event.

The event itself was amazing. People of all backgrounds came out. There were toddlers, teens and adults who showed up with food bank donations in hand and smiles on their faces. We managed to fill a van full of food for the Edmonton Foodbank! Everywhere I looked, people were smiling, laughing and throwing snow. At one point, I got a little tap on my arm. I turned around to be completely covered in snow by a 5 year old girl. The look of mischief on her face made my day. If you want to see some amazing photos of the event, check out Make Something Edmonton’s Facebook photo album here.

foodbank

The beauty of #yegsnowfight is that it became its own movement. Jeff and I just put an idea out there, but it was Edmonton that made it what it was. Edmonton showed the rest of the world that it was a city that likes to have fun; a playful city. This interesting Guardian article talks about the Playable City Movement and states that “cities that play together, stay together”.

Here’s an interesting excerpt from the article:

” Cities create problems of living that can only be addressed by collective action. Second, the sense that the well-being of communities cannot be left to local authorities; citizens need to take control of their own surroundings. Third, an optimism that we can do more than just tackle problems one by one. By encouraging public activities that actively bring joy, we can create a happier, more cohesive urban future.”

Reading that excerpt makes me think about #yegsnowfight. It was the collective action and desire of Edmontonians to engage in a public activity that brought joy. It was more than just a snowball fight. It was an opportunity for strangers to connect and have fun together. #yegsnowfight facilitated a social connection for me too. Prior to #yegsnowfight, I didn’t know Jeff. Working with him on this project showed us that we actually have a lot in common. We’re friends now. He’s an amazing person and I’m grateful for my new friendship.

jeffandrobin

I’m currently working on a project that addresses social inclusion, and I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how to go about doing it. It’s a complex issue and there is no one way to address the challenge. Interestingly #yegsnowfight accomplished, in an organic fashion, what I’ve been working towards. And I had nothing to do with it. Edmontonians created that inclusive environment themselves. It was awesome.

Following the snowball fight I read an Edmonton Journal article, and one part really warmed my heart. One of the #yegsnowfighters, Clement Sitima, came to Edmonton from Zambia three years ago. He brought his whole family. It was his first snowball fight ever. He was quoted as saying “We have to embrace the winter and this is the best way we can embrace it”. That right there made it all worth it. 

#yegsnowfight made me proud to be an Edmontonian. This is a fun-loving, winter-embracing, community oriented city and I am so happy that I live here.

We made something, Edmonton. Thanks.

Why I Want Bike Lanes in Edmonton

On Thursday evening, I attended the #yegbikecoalition event at Edmonton’s City Hall.  We were lucky to have some fantastic speakers to help launch the event. Scott McKeen regaled us with his memories of biking from Clareview to downtown Edmonton, and accordingly some of his reflections on “sharing” the road with drivers. Andrew Knack shared his new found passion for winter cycling. Todd Babiak spoke to the issue of cars vs bikes and made the insightful point that we aren’t a car city, that we’re a “city city”.

I was particularly moved by a speech made by the 8 year old daughter of Anna Ho, one of the #yegbikecoalition members. She spoke about how by biking to school that she is able to stop to say hi to friends, observe wildlife, and race cars on the Saskatchewan Drive bike path. She shared that she would bike in the winter time, but is not allowed. Not because it’s too cold out (she smartly pointed out that if we can ski in the winter we can certainly bike), but because the roads are too dangerous with cars and ice. She said that her parents would allow her if there were separated bike lanes.  Beyond being completely floored by her speech, I was reminded that bike lanes are important for people from all age groups and all backgrounds – not just hip, urban dwelling 20 somethings. People of all types showed up to the event which I think indicates that bike lanes are beneficial for everyone.

This is an issue that I am very invested in. I wish that I could attend the public hearing  on Monday to share my thoughts, but I will be teaching at MacEwan that day and am not able to take the day off as the semester is coming to an end and time is of the essence.

In place of my absence at the hearing, I thought I’d briefly share a few of my points on my blog – points that I hope are heard by City Council.  I should emphasize that I want to share my views in a way that sparks productive dialogue. The message can get lost in the adversarial relationship that can too often take place between citizens and administration.

1. Bike Lanes and Downtown Vibrancy

The city is highly invested in increasing vibrancy in the downtown core. Edmonton’s downtown core has long been criticized as being “dead” and “boring”. Cyclists add to street life. They can easily get off their bikes and spend their money locally. In New York, a study showed that business increased by 49% on a street where bike lanes were installed. Businesses play a huge role in promoting vibrancy. As downtown Edmonton welcomes more businesses, we will certainly need the people to be there to spend their money. Bike lanes make sense economically.

bikelanes

2. Bike Lanes and Poverty

As I had mentioned in my earlier blog post, bike lanes are also currently relevant for those who live in poverty. Owning a car can be prohibitively expensive, requiring  those experiencing poverty (up to 12% of Edmontonians) to use alternate forms of transportation. We can’t ignore the fact that many people don’t have the means to use a car – our city should be built in a way that acknowledges this.

Poverty-in-Canada-infographic

3. Bike Lanes and the “Next Gen Demographic”

Edmonton ‘s largest age group is 20-39 years old .  Many young professionals are coming to Edmonton for the opportunities that exist here. Many of those people, including myself, have come from places with established bike lanes. We are doing an excellent job of attracting people, but are we doing enough to retain them?  Recent polls show that “millennials” are becoming increasingly less reliant on cars . Are we going to build a city that meets their needs? If we want to attract and retain impressive people, we’re going to have to build an impressive city.

flickr2_acme08_p

4. Bike lanes and the Environment

Edmonton benefits from the oil industry. There’s no denying that a lot of our prosperity can be attributed to the revenue generated by oil. I’ve heard Jim Prentice say numerous times that” if you are in the energy business, you’re in the environment business”. But what does that look like? Cycling is one practical way to get cars (and their accompanying pollution) off of the roads. Bike lanes make that process easier by creating safe space for people who may be skeptical. Within the global context, we need to demonstrate that we are doing our part in taking responsibility for the environment. Edmonton is already leading the way in waste management and environmental responsibility – bike lanes fit well with our current endeavours.

These were just a few points of many that support why bike lanes should be built in Edmonton.

Before I conclude, I’d like to share why I, personally, want bike lanes.

For starters, I just love the way biking makes me feel. My mental health has improved. I am in the best shape of my life. I am more connected to my community.

Edmonton has been so good to me. I love this city and all of the amazing things I’ve been able to be a part of. Between my job, my personal life, and the different extra-curricular initiatives I’m involved in, it is safe to say that on many fronts I am extremely fulfilled and happy that I made the choice to move here. But there are some non-negotiables for me.

I want to be able to get around my city without needing a car, and I want to be able to do it safely. I don’t want to have to constantly battle with cars for space on the road. I’m a driver as well and I am guilty of having some close calls with cyclists in the past. Bike lanes keep both drivers and cyclists safe.

I am increasingly becoming conscious of the impact I am making on the environment, and cycling is one way for me to take some responsibility.  Part of my increased interest in environmental responsibility can be attributed to my realization that I will have kids one day.

If we keep going in this direction, our future generations will suffer for our poor decision making. Bike lanes won’t be a deal breaker, but they’ll  certainly make a difference. Thinking about my unborn children also makes we think about whether I want to raise them here. Will I allow them to bike to school in the winter? Will they be safe on our roads?

As I said before, I love Edmonton. It’s grown on me tremendously.

As trivial as it sounds, having safe bike infrastructure will play a role in my choice to commit to this city.

I want to buy my first house here. I want to bike with my kids to school here. I want to grow old here.

I want to stick around, Edmonton. I want you to be my home.

Your move.

What is community?

What is community?

Merriam Webster defines community as

: a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood)

: a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.

: a group of nations

As you can see, the definition isn’t particularly clear.

I’ve been mulling over this question for some time now. The word “community” is thrown around quite a bit, but I’m not sure we really understand what we mean when we use it.  I’ve often referred to myself as a community builder. I teach in the Faculty of Health and Community Studies. I work on a mental health team in Edmonton called the Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team. Earlier this year I attended the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists National Conference in Fredericton, where the focus was on “Enabling Healthy Communities”. At the conference we discussed many interesting and innovative community based programs, but I left still puzzled about what community actually was.

I guess my preoccupation with this question began last year, during a conversation I had with a client. The client was experiencing depression and I was called in to help him find some meaningful activities to do in his community.

** (I’ll speak to this more in another post, but occupational therapy is an often misunderstood profession – I see myself as working collaboratively with people to help them explore how doing can provide a sense of purpose and meaning). **

I sat with him and began to talk about all of the things he might be interested in doing. I saw that he was disinterested in the discussion on activities, and so I asked him about his community and what he identified as his community. His reply was that he didn’t have one. I grew to understand that his experience of depression was exacerbated by profound loneliness and social isolation. He saw community as “other people”.

While his response to my question was troubling, it wasn’t surprising. My team supports adults with developmental disabilities – most often the biggest issue that affects their quality of life is chronic loneliness and a lack of connection with others. The reality is that there are many people in Edmonton that don’t see themselves as part of a community – oftentimes due to barriers that are a result of marginalization and oppression.

Following that encounter with my client I was determined to try to do my part in addressing the issue of social isolation and disconnection.  My pursuit in connecting people with communities fueled my desire to understand what community was.

This question was on my mind during the Fall 2013 semester, and so I asked the students of the mental health class I teach at MacEwan University. I received varied responses: a village, “my soccer team”, a city, a culture, “my church”, a support group. My question didn’t provide a definitive answer – and I am happy that it didn’t.

If I asked my father to describe community, he would probably say it was how the people of Saraotalli (his small rural village in Bangladesh) would collectively come together and look out for one another, ranging from sharing farmed produce to taking care of the neighbour’s son. I believe that his upbringing exemplified the common adage “It takes a village to raise a child”.

If you were to ask a sociologist what community was, they would likely tell you that community is a “social construct”. According to Phil Bartle from the Community Empowerment Collective, community is “a set of interactions, human behaviours that have meaning and expectations between its members”.

To further abstract the concept, he states that “a community usually was already existing when all of its current residents were not yet born, and it will likely continue to exist when all of the people in it have left”.

So it seems that community isn’t a physical place as much as it is an idea. But then again, physical spaces have much to do in creating community. Just look at the great community revitalization work being done on 118 ave or the envisioned plan for Blatchford where public spaces will help foster a sense of community.

Maybe we can’t create a universal definition for community. Perhaps it lies in the subjective and personal experience one has with it.

If we can’t define what community is, maybe we can explore the purpose it serves. As my client said, “community is other people”.

Social inclusion is considered a social determinant of health and has been tied to many health outcomes. According to Berkman and Glass (2000) studies have consistently demonstrated people who are socially isolated or disconnected from others have between two and five times the risk of dying from all causes compared to those who maintain strong ties with family, friends & community. (here’s a link to their paper: http://www.ulb.ac.be/esp/psd/foresa/Durkheim.pdf).

Community involvement has direct implications on our health.

As I stated earlier, there are Edmontonians who, for a variety of reasons, don’t feel connected to a community. I believe that we need to remember that as we move forward in participating in our own communities.

When I think of community, I think of human connection, mutual support, and shared vision. Through the sharing of ideas and social capital, members of a community can assist each other in realizing greater goals.

Edmonton has a demonstrated commitment to community. I have heard that we have the most community leagues of any city in the country – which is quite impressive. Often times when you ask people, Why Edmonton? – they respond “because of the community feel”.

So it seems that I haven’t come to a definitive conclusion in my quest to define community, and so I turn to you. I’m curious to hear your perspectives on the following questions:

  • How do you define community?
  • What communities do you belong to?
  • How can you make your community more accessible to others?

Please comment below and share some of your thoughts on the topic. Thanks!

 

(header credit: EEDC https://www.flickr.com/photos/edmontonliveallyear/4148779276)

Why Edmonton?

Why Edmonton?

That’s a question that lead to the development of Make Something Edmonton – an initiative that I am proud to be a part of as a member of the Activation Board. I plan on sharing my reflections on participating in this amazing movement here on my blog.

Why Edmonton?

I’ve pondered that question since I moved here, and the answer has evolved with time. When I first arrived two years ago, I told people I lived in Edmonton because it’s  where my partner got a job. At the time I felt that I had to give people an excuse, because it wouldn’t make any sense otherwise.

To be honest, I never really thought much about where I lived until I moved to Edmonton. Being the son of a university professor, I moved around the country on a frequent basis. I was born in Toronto, spent my early years in Waterloo, had a small stint in Peterborough, attended grade school in Montreal,  grew into my 20’s in Victoria, and completed grad school in Toronto. When I really started to reflect on it, Edmonton was the first place that I chose to live. Prior to living in Edmonton, the places I lived were predominantly dictated by where my dad got professorships – with the exception of Toronto where I lived for three years because I got into grad school there.

For the first time in my life I had an opportunity to choose where I wanted to live. I was equipped with a professional degree that could probably get me a job anywhere in Canada, maybe the world, and I chose to come to Edmonton. Or maybe Edmonton chose me.

I’ve come to realize that the notion of place has become quite the popular issue of discussion amongst the Next Gen demographic. There are so many options as to where we could live. I believe that while choice and opportunity are good things that should not be taken for granted, they also come with a burden. I know that in my own moments of over-analysis, I’ve experienced regret and FOMO (fear of missing out – a term my partner acquainted me with). The plethora of questions you could ask yourself about why you live where you live is enough to keep you up at night. And why? Because the world is our oyster and anything is possible? No Thanks. There’s something to be said about mindfulness and being content. And sleep.

But I digress. Back to the question. Why Edmonton?

If you asked me today, I would tell you I live in Edmonton because it fits my personality. I would describe myself as an idealist with a tendency to day-dream. I’ve been an “ideas” guy my whole life and have often been met with skepticism and disregard. Granted, I probably actually follow through with 1% of the things I think about – but I’ve come to realize that it’s OK to be an ideas guy here. Based on my own experiences, not only do Edmontonians tolerate ideas people – they support and encourage them. #lightbrightyeg probably wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t feel safe in sharing my idea with others. In my opinion, Edmonton is the perfect incubator for social innovation. We have the resources and opportunities to take ideas to completion. A side note on Edmonton’s reputation for opportunity – opportunity is great, but it’s even better if you have a community supporting you in the pursuit. Based on my experiences, Edmonton does that well.

Our city has historically been criticized for its design and physical appearance – and we’re working on it. With the buzz of Blatchford and development in downtown Edmonton, it is apparent that we humbly recognize where we may have made mistakes and we’re working hard on correcting them. In the next three years, downtown Edmonton will have some amazing buildings and places that I think will contribute positively to vibrancy and Edmonton’s overall image (Royal Alberta Museum, MacEwan Campus, City of Edmonton Building, Roger’s Place, and numerous residential developments – to name a few).

But (again) back to the question. Why Edmonton? While a city’s physical dimensions are a big part of the urban experience, we must also acknowledge the social landscape. People haven’t looked closely enough at the social qualities that Edmonton embodies. Edmonton has a personality and energy that is difficult to duplicate. Edmonton is open, warm, kind, supportive, humble, and confident (this isn’t an exhaustive list). These are all characteristics I seek in friends and people that I want around in the long run.

Any city can build a cool building or a funky public space, but I think it’s much harder to “create” a personality. You either have it or you don’t. I choose personality over looks any day of the week- and the great thing is that in the near future we are going to have the best of both.

Too sum it up, I choose to live, work and play in Edmonton because it has a personality I see myself becoming good pals with. The type of friend that sticks around. Edmonton has entertained my lofty ideas, and even helped me realize them. It is inclusive. It involves me and makes me feel like I am part of something bigger. It’s dependable. Instead of saying “No”, it says “How?”

For these reasons and more I am proud to call myself an Edmontonian. I am also proud to be a part of the Make Something Edmonton Activation Board (meet the rest of the team here: http://www.makesomethingedmonton.ca/about/#team). Mary Sturgeon and her team have put together an awesome group of dreamers, thinkers and makers, and I can’t wait to see how we work together moving forward. Great things are happening in this city. I’m excited.

 

(header credit: Jeff Wallace (https://www.flickr.com/photos/wherezjeff/)