All neighborhoods need the fundamentals like road infrastructure, schools, grocery stores (unless you’re in the East End apparently), some parks and greenery. But, we are very quickly running out of land in Guelph and we need to quickly start thinking about building more useful and integrated neighborhoods.
For example, there are very few community centres in Guelph. Social clubs, sports teams, networking groups, special interest classes and hobbyists are ALWAYS begging for space in Church basements, school gyms, warehouse spaces, you name it. It may not always be financially, environmentally or spatially viable to build community centres all over the place but mid and high rise condo buildings almost always have party rooms, and/or communal spaces. Why not build these spaces with community use in mind? Perhaps build them a little bit larger, maybe with hard surface flooring and even available store space. Condo corporations could rent out the space during the week while these spaces are typically under utilized. That way local groups can function within, and help to fortify, the community where the participants are already located.
Guelph is also a town full of foodies, locavores and conservationists. These qualities coupled with a general sense of community and well being means that Guelph is ripe for an urban harvest program. See what I did there? Cities like Toronto and Houston have had programs in place since the early 1990s! These programs promote community gardens where people learn to, and have space to grown their own organic vegetables from locally sourced seeds. Also, why not start planting producing fruit and nut trees on boulevards instead of standard maple trees. We would then be able to encourage the community to harvest the fruit, veg and nuts grown in their very own soil. What could be more local and delicious than that?!
New neighborhoods in Guelph are growing increasingly dense. There is less and less land on lots as people start to favor larger homes in lieu of larger yards when cost forces a choice. Because we are becoming more boxed in we need more room for us and our fur babies to run free! We need more dedicated dog parks in these new areas. Even a small enclosed space can mean the world to pooches the people who love them and in case you hadn’t noticed, Guelphites LOVE their critters. We want to be good neighbors and not disturb those without four legged friends. A separate space for us to roam and play will make everyone happier.
Guelphites are incredibly community oriented which is one of the main reasons I love this city, but, as the city becomes more and more spread out we need to find new and better ways to use our space and stay connected. Where there is a will there is a way but why don’t we just jump ahead and create the opportunity to come together for a bigger and better Guelph.