How does a city see itself?

I have become immensely interested in how cities see themselves.

The first step is determining who is city? Perhaps a great place to start is to begin with youth. How do they see, experience and conceptualize their city? If London, Ontario, for example, could see itself as young adults see it, what would the city see?

I am looking to find out answers to this question: stay tuned.

Talking water, water infrastructure & history

I had a great discussion with James Shelley about water, water infrastructure, and history back in January.

James is a local thinker, writer, researcher, podcaster and host of London’s Wolf Hall Debates. In other words, James is one of the people in our city who helps make London a vibrant, thoughtful community. You can catch the conversation here as well as check out his excellent website which is filled with other thoughtful content:

London Oral History Project

I am very pleased to announce that I will be partnering with the London Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) to produce a youth-led and researched oral history of London, Ontario.
The project will involve fourteen 2 person research teams, all of whom being young adults, who will fan out across London’s 14 Wards. Each team will be composed of persons who live in the Ward where they will be working. The goal is to have each team interview 5-10 persons/families. The project is intended to tell many different and diverse stories about our city much the way Studs Terkel did when he researched and wrote “Division Street America” about Chicago, Illinois back in the mid-1960s.
There will be an editorial staff working with the research teams to transcribe and then publish this study in book form. We will also have a Project Manager, an Assistant Project Manager, and a Historical Consultant. The final manuscript will be pitched to Canadian publishers with an intent to reach a broad reading public. I can only imagine how a work like this could appeal not only to Londoners, but also to artists, social scientists, local businesses and anyone who wants to learn something about this growing city that sits midway between Toronto and Detroit.
The best part is, all participants will gain writer/editorial credits and research and publishing experience. This project will be researched and assembled by London youth. An undertaking of this nature has never been done before. While putting the design together, it was my intention to produce a project that could reach out to people from all walks of life: gender, racial, religious, socio-economic, ethnic and linguistic in order to offer the researchers and eventually readers, a slice of the complex and fascinating dynamics shaping London’s social geography. Best of all, the interviewees will get to decide what stories and ideas they wish to share. This book will be Londoners speaking on their own behalf while taking to young adults.
I am more excited than I can possibly express right now. This has been an evolving dream of mine and the first major step to making it happen was approved this afternoon. Please stay tuned. London Oral History Project